Propecia During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on August 11, 2012

Athough Propecia (finasteride) is not indicated for use in women, consumers should be aware of its potential effects on pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Can Pregnant Women Use Propecia?

Propecia is not approved for women, whether pregnant or not. However, women are especially advised to avoid handling or being exposed to the active contents of this drug (finasteride) because it is very dangerous for the unborn child. Animal studies suggest that Propecia increases the risk of birth defects of the unborn child.

The Food and Drug Administration classifies Propecia as a Pregnancy Category X medication. This means that the drug has shown to cause problems on the fetus in animal studies as well as in case reports of drug use in humans. Medications falling under Category X should not be given to pregnant women or those who plan to become pregnant.

The manufacturer of Propecia recommends that pregnant women or may become pregnant should not handle Propecia tablets, especially when broken, crushed or when contents are exposed.

Effects of Propecia During Pregnancy

Propecia is said to cause birth effects because it works by interfering with the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotesterone (DHT) which is essential in fetal growth during pregnancy, particularly in male genital development. Usually, exposure to finasteride during pregnancy results in abnormalities to the external genitals of a male fetus.

It is possible for finasteride to be found in the semen and potentially increase the risk of the fetus. Although animal studies suggest that use of Propecia by the male partner of a childbearing woman is unlikely to cause problems, many healthcare providers recommend men to stay safe by either avoiding intercourse or using a condom during sexual intercourse. In addition, men who are planning or wishing to conceive a child should discontinue use of this drug.

As mentioned above, it is very important that women should not be allowed to touch any crushed or broken tablets of Propecia.

Pregnant women should never take Propecia throughout pregnancy as it can cause problems. If you are pregnant and your male partner is taking Propecia, be sure to contact your healthcare provider right away. Discuss with your healthcare provider the potential risks to the child. Together with your partner and healthcare provider, you can come up with a shared decision that best suits your wants and expectations.

Can Breastfeeding Women Take Propecia?

As discussed above, this medication is approved only for men. Since this drug is used exclusively by men, there are no available studies that explore whether this drug is excreted into the human milk.