Is it okay to take Concerta/Methylphenidate while pregnant?

Concerta is a medication that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is an effective medication because it balances different natural substances found in the brain. Concerta is classified as a stimulant.

If you are a Concerta patient and you are wondering if you can take Concerta while pregnant, schedule a meeting with your doctor to discuss your options. You should always speak with your provider about how medications can interrupt your daily life. For Concerta, abruptly stopping your treatment can lead to issues with work, sleep and socialization. You may also experience weight loss while coming off Concerta, which is not recommended for pregnant women. In addition, you may want to talk to your provider about monitoring your heart rate and blood pressure, as stimulants such as Concerta may affect these.

The FDA classifies Concerta as a Class C substance for use during pregnancy. This class indicates there is not enough available research to adequately understand whether the medication proposes a risk for the mother or fetus during pregnancy. Because of this lack of research, Concerta should only be taken by pregnant women if the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks to the fetus. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about the risks and benefits of the medication. Some doctors may lower a Concerta patient’s dose if they become pregnant to minimize any issues which may arise for the fetus and newborn baby.

How can Concerta/Methylphenidate affect your baby?

Using Concerta while pregnant is not likely to increase your baby’s risk for birth defects, based on published research. More studies need to be conducted to determine if there is a risk of certain kinds of birth defects or other issues.

In addition, the limited research available does not suggest using Concerta while pregnant will put your baby at risk for premature birth or low birth rate. Some babies who may have been exposed to stimulants right before they are born may show signs of withdrawal after being born. This is usually temporary and is uncommon for cases in which Concerta was taken as the mother’s doctor prescribed them.

As for long-term effects on children who have been exposed to Concerta, limited research has found babies should have normal growth and development among children studied up to one year of age. It is important to be aware that there is still ongoing research on this topic. Make sure you discuss all your options and concerns with your doctor about using Concerta while pregnant.

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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.