Xanax and Pregnancy
Both human and animal studies on Xanax and pregnancy show that the drug may increase the risk of birth defects when it is used during pregnancy. However, a healthcare provider may still prescribe Xanax to a pregnant woman if the benefits outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child. If you are taking Xanax and pregnancy occurs, your healthcare provider will weigh the benefits and risks before making a recommendation for your situation.
An Overview of Xanax and Pregnancy
Xanax® (alprazolam) is generally considered dangerous for pregnant women. It is part of a group of medications known as benzodiazepines. Human and animal studies have shown that benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects and other problems.
Xanax and Pregnancy Category D
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category D is given to medicines that have shown clear evidence of risk to the fetus in studies. Pregnancy Category D is a stronger warning than a pregnancy Category C or B classification. A pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.
Xanax was given a pregnancy Category D rating because of problems seen in animal and human studies. Benzodiazepine use during early pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, while use during later pregnancy can cause withdrawal symptoms in a newborn.
Since taking Xanax is rarely absolutely necessary, many healthcare providers suggest that it should always be avoided during pregnancy. However, you should not stop taking Xanax without your healthcare provider's approval -- even if you are pregnant -- due to the risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms (see Xanax Withdrawal).
If you are taking Xanax and pregnancy occurs (or you are thinking of becoming pregnant), let your healthcare provider know. He or she will consider the benefits and risks of using the medication during pregnancy before making a recommendation for your particular situation.