Taking Provigil While Pregnant: What You Need to Know
Can You Take Provigil While Pregnant?
Provigil is a brand-name, prescription drug. The generic name of Provigil is modafinil, and this medication is used for the treatment of narcolepsy. Provigil may be prescribed in other instances as well, to treat shift work sleep disorder or obstructive sleep apnea. Some people believe that Provigil can provide cognitive benefits, and that’s an off-label use for it, although there’s not much evidence to support that belief. Provigil side effects can include anxiety, headache, sleep disturbances and nausea. Serious side effects can include allergic reactions and hallucinations. There is a low risk of psychological dependence with Provigil and minimal if any risk of physical dependence. Provigil is a schedule IV-controlled substance in the U.S. since there is a slight risk of addiction. Provigil is similar to some other stimulant drugs that are addictive, but there are differences as well. Provigil can have mild mood-lifting properties. However, despite this, the report of people misusing or becoming addicted to Provigil are few.
Provigil’s primary prescription purpose is for the treatment of narcolepsy. Untreated narcolepsy while pregnant can mean a woman gains more weight than what’s considered healthy. This increases the risk of complications like anemia and impaired glucose metabolism. Despite the complications associated with untreated narcolepsy, pregnant women are often very cautious about the medications they can take during this time. So, can you take Provigil while pregnant? The answer can be somewhat frustrating for pregnant women, as is the case with so many other medications. Provigil may be safe during pregnancy, but it may not be.
The FDA categorizes substances based on their perceived risks or safety during pregnancy. The category determinations are based on available research, including both animal and human controlled studies. Few controlled human studies look at the effects of substances during pregnancy, however. Human studies during pregnancy can be dangerous and unethical. Most human studies during pregnancy are done observationally. For example, no controls are put in place, but researchers might ask pregnant women to respond as to whether or not they’ve used a certain substance. Category A drugs are considered the safest during pregnancy, and category B drugs are typically fairly safe. Most drugs fall into category C, however. Category C drugs may have shown some indication of harm to a fetus in animal studies, and there is a lack of well-controlled human studies. When a drug is in category C, a doctor will assess the benefits it can deliver, compared to the risks. Then, a determination can be made as to whether or not a pregnant woman should continue using the medication. Provigil is category C during pregnancy.
It’s hard to say whether or not Provigil will cause birth defects or harm to a fetus. There’s not any clear data showing links between the use of Provigil and birth defects. There’s also not any data showing Provigil is safe during pregnancy. There was one reported case of spontaneous abortion associated with the use of armodafinil and modafinil. There are two known cases of intrauterine growth retardation with the use of modafinil in pregnancy. There was a separate case of neonatal respiratory depression and severe growth limitation with the use of modafinil throughout pregnancy. As far as lactation and breastfeeding, no problems were seen in animal studies. If a pregnant woman is already taking Provigil, she should speak with her doctor. Her doctor can go through possible risks and benefits, and they can decide as to the best course of action. It’s important not to stop taking any medication, even during pregnancy, without first speaking to a healthcare provider.
If a woman becomes pregnant and she is taking Provigil for narcolepsy, her doctor may advise that she either switch to a different medicine or she stops taking medications altogether. Sometimes medicines like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as well as SNRs can be helpful in treating symptoms of epilepsy. There is also more research and more known about these types of medications during pregnancy as compared to something like Provigil. Another option that a doctor may recommend is a woman stops taking Provigil during the first trimester but then resumes during the second or third trimester. This is because most of the important fetal organ development occurs during the first trimester. This makes it the time when exposure to substances can cause the most effects on a fetus. A woman and her healthcare provider might also think about exploring natural treatments for narcolepsy. Some options that are helpful include supplements like 5-HTP or Omega-3s, increasing vitamin D and changes in diet and lifestyle. However, even natural remedies shouldn’t be tried during pregnancy without first speaking to a medical professional because certain supplements can be harmful to an unborn baby.
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