Hysingla While Pregnant: What You Need to Know
Hysingla ER is a medication prescribed to treat severe, ongoing pain. Hysingla’s generic ingredient is the opioid hydrocodone bitartrate. The use of Hysingla is intended to be reserved for situations where daily, long-term opioid treatment is required, and other medications won’t work or are simply not an option. Since Hysingla is an opioid, there is a risk of misuse and addiction associated with taking it. There is also a higher risk of a fatal overdose with Hysingla since it’s a strong, extended-release drug. If the drug is misused to get the full effects all at once, rather than over an extended period, the chances of fatal respiratory depression are high. Hysingla is a schedule II controlled substance, indicating the potential for misuse associated with it.
Hysingla ER is manufactured with certain properties that are supposed to reduce the risk of misuse. With extended-release opioid medications, there is a potential for misuse when they’re chewed, crushed or dissolved. That can release the full potency of the drug into the system of the person taking it all at once. Hysingla is made to be resistant to breaking or disruption. However, it is still misused despite these features. Hysingla and other opioids are also called narcotics. These drugs affect the central nervous system. They change how pain signals are sent to the brain, and also the emotional experience of feeling pain. As a result of their effects on the brain, they can cause euphoria and pleasant, desirable effects. That sense of euphoria or pleasure is what can trigger a reward and reinforcement cycle in the brain that develops into addiction.
What about taking Hysingla while pregnant? Is Hysingla a safe drug to take in this time frame? Like other opioid pain medicines, Hysingla is a category C drug in the U.S. The FDA divides drugs into categories based on the research and evidence indicating their safety or risks during pregnancy. A category A drug is considered the safest during pregnancy because there is no evidence of any risk if it’s taken. Category B drugs may have shown some potential risks in animal studies. Category C drugs can’t be described as definitely safe during pregnancy, and they may have shown a potential risk in animal studies or human observational studies. With category C drugs, a doctor may advise a pregnant woman to continue taking them only if the benefits of the medication outweigh the possible risks.
According to the CDC in a recently released study, from 2008 to 2012 an average of 28 percent of women with private health insurance filled a prescription for an opioid. 39 percent of women with Medicaid filled an opioid prescription. The CDC highlights the importance of these numbers because of the risks of taking medications during pregnancy. The risks of adverse effects on a fetus are particularly high when medications are taken during the first trimester. There was other fairly new research from the CDC showing how Hysingla and other opioids may affect a fetus. For example, taking opioid pain medicines during pregnancy was linked to spina bifida. Spina bifida is a serious neural tube defect that affects the brain and spinal cord. Hydrocephaly was linked to opioid use during pregnancy, as was gastroschisis. Hydrocephaly is a buildup of fluid in the brain. Gastroschisis is a defect of the baby’s abdominal wall. Congenital heart defects were also linked to opioid use during pregnancy.
With that being said, while Hysingla may increase the chances of a baby being born with birth defects, there are risks to stopping the drug suddenly. When someone takes Hysingla or any opioid for a prolonged period, they may become physically dependent. If they stop taking the substance suddenly, they’re likely to go through withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal during pregnancy can be dangerous or fatal for the mother and the baby. For example, opioid withdrawal may cause placental abruption, which is life-threatening for a pregnant woman and her baby. If you’re pregnant and you take Hysingla, you should speak with your healthcare provider before you stop taking it.
When a baby is exposed to Hysingla in the womb, the baby may form a dependence on the substance. If a baby is dependent on opioids, they will go through withdrawal after birth. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The severity of NAS symptoms depends on factors such as how long a drug was used for, how much the mother was taking, and genetic factors. Some symptoms of NAS linked to opioids include excessive or high-pitched crying, fever, hyperactive reflexes, diarrhea, vomiting, and problems with feeding. Also possible is slow weight gain, sleep disturbances, irritability, sweating, tremors, and seizures. Treatment usually occurs in the NICU. Specific symptoms such as dehydration can be treated. Often infants with NAS also need special care to make them more comfortable. Sometimes if a baby has severe symptoms of NAS, treatment with something like methadone may be required.
If you’re pregnant and taking Hysingla, whether recreationally or by prescription, the first step is to speak with your healthcare provider. Your doctor or care provider can help you gradually taper down on your dosage of Hysingla to prevent severe withdrawal complications. If you’re taking Hysingla for pain, your doctor may advise different strategies for treating the pain during pregnancy. Some women may also benefit from medically-assisted detox and addiction treatment if they’re taking opioids recreationally during pregnancy.
To learn more about addiction treatment, including during pregnancy, contact The Recovery Village. The road to recovery isn’t always easy, but the team at The Recovery Village will be with you every step of the way.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.
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