Is It Safe to Take Armodafinil While Pregnant?

Armodafinil is a generic drug, also available under the trade name Nuvigil. It’s used to treat sleep conditions like narcolepsy, as well as certain other sleep disorders. Armodafinil can be prescribed to help with obstructive sleep apnea as well. Armodafinil may also be used to help people stay awake if they have an abnormal work schedule. It’s not a cure for sleep disorders but, instead, just helps with certain symptoms. It is possible that armodafinil can cause dependence and addiction, and this risk is higher in people with a history of substance use disorder. Common side effects of armodafinil can include headache, dry mouth, nausea and nervousness. Sometimes, armodafinil is used off-label as a way to treat ADHD, chronic fatigue and major depressive disorder. In some ways, armodafinil is believed to act similarly to amphetamine and methylphenidate.

Is it safe to take armodafinil while pregnant? During pregnancy, the FDA classifies armodafinil as a category C drug. This means that it may be unsafe during pregnancy, but there’s not enough clear evidence to definitively say it is safe.

There is an additional issue to consider with regard to armodafinil and pregnancy. There is a certain enzyme in the liver that is used to break down armodafinil. That enzyme is then eliminated through the urine. This enzyme is also responsible for breaking down contraceptives. If a woman takes armodafinil and a hormonal contraceptive, it significantly decreases the levels of the contraceptive in her blood. This lowers the effectiveness of contraceptives and, as a result, women who are prescribed armodafinil are advised to use more than one form of contraceptive.

Will Taking Armodafinil Cause Birth Defects?

It is possible that armodafinil could cause birth defects or complications during pregnancy, but there’s not a lot of scientific evidence available on the topic. Armodafinil is associated with intrauterine growth restriction, as well as spontaneous abortion. In animal studies, developmental toxicity was seen at certain exposure levels. Developmental toxicity can lead to increased skeletal variations and decreased birth weight.

Currently, there is a pregnancy registry that has been established so that researchers can monitor the outcomes of pregnant women using armodafinil. Healthcare providers are encouraged to get their patients to register, and pregnant women can register on their own as well. As with any medication, a doctor will look at the benefits or armodafinil and weigh them against the potential risks during pregnancy to determine if a woman should continue the medication. Because armodafinil can cause withdrawalsymptoms, it’s important not to stop it without speaking with a healthcare provider first. Withdrawal symptoms can cause pregnancy complications and can be dangerous for a baby as well.

Alternatives to Taking Armodafinil While Pregnant

Since there can be risks to a fetus if a pregnant woman uses armodafinil, some women may look for alternatives. The risks of using a medication like armodafinil can be particularly high if it’s used during the first trimester when the majority of the baby’s development is happening. For example, some physicians might recommend taking high doses of certain vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and choline.

There are also certain other nutrients that some doctors feel are helpful in treating symptoms of narcolepsy. Some of these include coenzyme Q-10, omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins, and L-tyrosine among others. Some herbal supplements may be used to help stimulate people during daytime hours and alleviate some symptoms of narcolepsy. While alternatives to taking armodafinil while pregnant may be available, don’t try to self-medicate. Certain herbs and even certain vitamins may not be advisable during pregnancy or may have interactions with other medicines a pregnant woman can take. A healthcare provider can work with you to determine options that will be safe.

Lifestyle changes might be helpful in addition to whatever protocol a healthcare provider recommends. For example, meditation or changing sleep routines or any routines leading up to bedtime may be helpful during pregnancy.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.