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Kathmandu Univ Med J (KUMJ). 2006 Oct-Dec;4(4):545-51.

An overview of over the counter drugs in pregnancy and lactation.

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Department of Pharmacology, BPKIHS, Dharan, Nepal.


Over the counter (OTC) drugs are commonly used by pregnant women. Most OTC drugs are safe in pregnancy but some have unproven safety and may adversely affect the growing foetus. The safety profile of some of the medication may change according to the gestational age of the foetus. Because an estimated 10% or more of the birth defects results from maternal drug exposure, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assigned a risk category to each drugs. Among the commonly used OTC drugs Acetaminophen, Chlorpheniramine, Kaolin and Pectin preparations and most antacids have a good safety record. The drugs like H2 blockers; Pseudoephedrine and Atropine/Diphenoxylate should be used with caution. The risk and benefit while using OTC drugs in pregnancy has to be assessed.

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