Phenytek and Pregnancy
Because studies on Phenytek and pregnancy have shown that the drug could cause birth defects if it is taken during pregnancy, the FDA has classified the drug as a pregnancy Category D medication. However, because uncontrolled epilepsy can also be dangerous to both a pregnant woman and the fetus, your healthcare provider may decide to keep you on Phenytek if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Is It Safe to Take Phenytek During Pregnancy?Phenytek® (phenytoin sodium) may cause problems if taken during pregnancy. In studies that looked at the effects of Phenytek during pregnancy, the drug caused problems, including birth defects.
Phenytek and Pregnancy Category DThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category D is a classification given to medicines that have been shown to present a risk to the fetus in studies of pregnant women, but may still offer benefits that outweigh the risks the drug presents. Therefore, 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.
Several studies have shown that Phenytek may cause birth defects in humans. Sometimes, these birth defects can be very severe. However, uncontrolled epilepsy can also be dangerous to both a pregnant woman and the fetus. You and your healthcare provider must discuss the specific benefits and risks of using Phenytek during pregnancy in your particular situation. If your epilepsy is very mild (or if you have not had a seizure in several years), you may consider stopping Phenytek. However, if your epilepsy is severe or difficult to control, it may be best for you to stay on Phenytek. No matter what, do not stop taking Phenytek suddenly or without your healthcare provider's approval.
If you and your healthcare provider decide that it is best for you to continue taking Phenytek, you will need frequent blood tests to measure your Phenytek levels. Pregnancy can affect the way your body handles Phenytek, and it is important to keep your dose at the lowest effective level (to help protect your fetus). Your healthcare provider may suggest a higher than usual dose of folic acid, as this may also help protect the fetus. Also, you may need to take vitamin K during the last part of your pregnancy, to protect your baby from a vitamin K deficiency.