Klonopin and Pregnancy
In animal studies involving Klonopin and pregnancy, it appeared that the medication could increase the risk of various birth defects, such as a cleft palate and limb defects. However, because seizures may also be dangerous during pregnancy, it may be best for you to continue taking the drug. Therefore, if you are taking Klonopin and pregnancy occurs, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the medication.
Klonopin® (clonazepam) is a medication approved to treat panic disorder and certain types of seizures. It is generally considered unsafe for use in pregnant women. In animal studies that evaluated the effects of Klonopin during pregnancy, the drug increased the risk of birth defects.
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 classification. However, 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.
Klonopin was given a pregnancy Category D rating due to the problems it caused in animal studies. These studies suggested that Klonopin may increase the risk of various birth defects, including cleft palate and limb defects. However, this is a controversial issue, since some human studies have shown that the risk of birth defects may be very small. Benzodiazepines (such as Klonopin) may also cause other problems, such as withdrawal symptoms after an infant is born.
For women taking Klonopin for epilepsy, it is important to understand that uncontrolled seizures are also dangerous during pregnancy. The risks of taking Klonopin during pregnancy must be weighed against the risks of uncontrolled seizures.