Is Lisinopril Safe During Pregnancy

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Is Lisinopril Safe During Pregnancy ?

A study conducted in the year 2006 revealed that Lisinopril is not safe to use during pregnancy. Earlier, it was assumed that in the first trimester a pregnant woman can use the medication without any worries. However, now this study has shown that Lisinopril is unsafe during pregnancy regardless of the trimester. (See Reference 1)

The medication can cause complications in the developing fetus, such as failure of the kidneys, developmental problems and even possible death of the fetus. Hence, if a woman is pregnant, the doctor will only recommend the usage of Lisinopril after weighing all the pros and cons of the medication and the health of the woman. (See Reference 1) Some of the health problems in the developing fetus can be temporary, while others can be permanent. This is the main reason why the medication is not given to pregnant women.

Before the year 2006, it was assumed that risk to the fetus only used to occur when Lisinopril was prescribed during the second as well as third trimester of the pregnancy. (See Reference 1) However, a study conducted by the Vanderbilt University showed that the fetus faced increased risk if the woman was given the medication during the first trimester. (See Reference 1) But the study did not reveal whether the risk to the developing fetus was as immense as in the second and third trimesters.

Some of the health complications seen in developing fetuses and newborn infants when their mothers took Lisinopril during pregnancy are as follows:

  • Extremely low levels of blood pressure
  • Developmental problems associated with the nervous system
  • Development problems associated with the heart and/or the blood vessels
  • Development problems associated with the lungs
  • Failure of the kidneys
  • Deformities of the face and head
  • Death

Based on the result of the Vanderbilt University study, the US FDA has categorized the medication as pregnancy Category C drug for the first trimester, and pregnancy Category D drug for the second as well as the third trimester. (See Reference 1) This classification is done based on the probable risks to the developing fetus when a pregnant woman takes a particular medication. Usually, when a medication is categorized as pregnancy Category C drug, it means that in lab settings the fetuses were affected, but no studies have been conducted on humans. Whereas, when a medication is classified as pregnancy Category D drug, it means that in human studies and trials there was evidence of sufficient risk to the developing fetus. (See Reference 1)

If the doctor feels that the health benefits offered by the medication outweigh the risks that the medication poses to the developing fetus, he or she may still prescribe Lisinopril to a pregnant woman. (See Reference 1) This said, Lisinopril is proven to be unsafe during pregnancy and most doctors do not recommend that women continue taking this medication once they discover that they are pregnant.

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Is Lisinopril Safe During Pregnancy Reference :
1. eMedTV: Lisinopril and Pregnancy