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Rheumatoid arthritis drugs and expectant Florida moms

Everyone knows that there are certain prescription drugs as well as other medications and substances that women should not take when they are pregnant and as long as they are breast-feeding. A number should also be avoided for some time before conception. That’s why women who are hoping to get pregnant should consult with their physicians if they are thinking about having a child.

This is particularly true for women to take prescription medications to treat a medical condition. Your doctor can tell you whether it is safe to continue taking. If it’s a medically-necessary drug, he or she may be able to recommend a safer alternative.

Many medications that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can be dangerous to an unborn child. In fact, medical professionals recommend that women who are taking these medications use reliable contraception and that they stop taking the medications several months before getting pregnant.

However, rheumatoid arthritis, which is different than osteoarthritis, can be a painful disorder. It causes swelling in the joints and can eventually cause joint deformity and bone erosion. While it’s most common in people in their 40s and older, it can occur at a younger age. Women are much more likely to get it than men.

When people have rheumatoid arthritis, their body’s immune system attacks the tissues that are around their joints. Therefore, many medications prescribed for it suppress the immune system. Others work by controlling inflammation.

Some drugs should be avoided from pre-conception through breastfeeding. Others are considered safe in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. The various drugs carry different risks for an unborn child and mother. They can cause miscarriage and birth defects. They can also cause diabetes and high blood pressure in expectant mothers.

Women who take prescription medications have a responsibility to tell their doctors if they are planning to become pregnant. However, doctors have a responsibility to warn a woman before they prescribe any medication that could make a pregnancy risky. They also have a responsibility when they learn that a woman is planning to get pregnant or already expecting to discuss any medications she is taking and stop prescribing them or switch to something less risky.

When doctors do not provide complete and accurate information on the potential risks of a drug for a pregnant woman and her child, they can potentially be held liable for medical malpractice.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Rheumatoid arthritis medications: Dangerous during pregnancy?” Dec. 20, 2014

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