Pristiq During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

by on April 24, 2012


Pristiq has been assigned to pregnancy category C by the Food and Drug Administration. There have not been enough studies on pregnant mothers taking the medication to come to an educated conclusion but infants exposed to other SNRI-type medications during the third trimester have experienced complications that required extensive care including hospitalization, tube feeding and respiratory support.

Desvenlafaxine is passed into breast milk, so it should only be prescribed to nursing mothers when the expected benefits of the medication clearly outweigh any risks to the mother or the baby. Nursing mothers may choose to stop nursing if the treatment with Pristiq continues.

When may Pristiq Be Prescribed to a Pregnant or Breastfeeding Mother?

A situation where Pristiq may be prescribed to a pregnant or breastfeeding mother is when she goes into a deep depression. When this happens, she may feel fatigued most of the time and lose all interest in self-care, or care for her baby. She may not want to eat or take her vitamins, or she may skip feeding times for the baby.

Another situation where Pristiq may be prescribed is when the woman experiences severe, persistent migraine that responds to no other drug. It is important to note that severe pain can cause blood pressure to rise, leading to complications, although blood pressure tends to decrease when a woman is breastfeeding.

Pristiq during Pregnancy

Pregnant women may experience serious side effects from taking Pristiq, such as high blood pressure leading to preeclampsia. This is a life-threatening condition that may occur in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, or sometimes in the first six weeks after giving birth. There are pregnant women who are naturally predisposed to preeclampsia, and when they take Pristiq, they are more likely to develop gestational hypertension and develop preeclampsia.

Aside from that, Pristiq can also worsen the condition of a childbearing female who has been dealing with liver and kidney problems even prior to pregnancy.

Pristiq and Breastfeeding

When taken during pregnancy, desvenlaxafine is associated with many birth defects such as club foot, cleft lip, cleft palate and PPHN or persistent pulmonary hypertension, to name a few. However, there are no confirmed effects of the drug on breastfed babies, although a closely related medicine called venlexafine is being linked to slow weight gain. In any case, every woman is different and may respond differently to Pristiq, so the best way to handle any risks of taking the drug while breastfeeding is to consult a medical professional. This way, all doubts are cleared and a breastfeeding mother who needs to take the drug can do so with peace of mind.

In general, there have been no well-controlled studies that confirm the effects of Pristiq during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, medical experts only view this as a reason to practice even more caution when prescribing the drug to their pregnant or lactating patients. Unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks, these women are always recommended to non-prescription treatment to avoid complications.