Quillivant XR While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Is Quillivant XR Safe to Take While Pregnant?

Quillivant XR is a brand-name medication used for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Quillivant XR can be prescribed to children aged 6 and older as well as teens and adults. The active ingredient in Quillivant XR is the stimulant methylphenidate. The objective of prescribing this ADHD drug is to help decrease hyperactivity and impulsivity while improving focus. The active ingredient in Quillivant XR is the same as in other ADHD medications like Ritalin. As with other ADHD medicines, the recommendation with Quillivant is that it’s used in combination with behavioral therapy, particularly in children. In some cases, Quillivant XR is also used as a treatment for narcolepsy. When someone uses Quillivant, the first dose starts to be released within about 45 minutes. Then, it keeps working for up to 12 hours. It’s a liquid medication, and the starting dosage is 20 mg taken once daily.

As with most ADHD medicines, certain side effect are possible with the use of Quillivant. Common side effects include decreased appetite, nausea, stomach pain, weight loss, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, irritability and agitation. Also possible are increased blood pressure, changes in heart rate, blurry vision and dry mouth. Severe side effects can include seizures and changes in eyesight. People with certain heart or blood pressure problems probably wouldn’t be prescribed Quillivant. It’s important your doctor knows about any history of mental illness before prescribing this medicine as well. Quillivant XR is a controlled substance because of the potential for misuse and dependence associated with its use. Overall, Quillivant is a stimulant of the central nervous system with addictive potential. So, is Quillivant XR safe to take while pregnant? Maybe, but maybe not.

Quillivant XR While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Quillivant’s active ingredient, methylphenidate, is a pregnancy category C drug, based on information from the FDA. The FDA classifies drugs based on animal and human research as to how safe or dangerous they could be during pregnancy. Most drugs fall into category C. Category C drugs are somewhat of a gray area. There isn’t really enough information to say with certainty they’re safe or unsafe. If a drug is category C, doctors will usually advise them to use it only if the benefits are going to outweigh the risks. There is often limited research on how drugs can affect a fetus during pregnancy. It’s difficult and sometimes dangerous and unethical to perform well-controlled human studies. Most of the available information on drug safety during pregnancy is from observational studies or animal studies. In one report, the use of methylphenidate during pregnancy didn’t seem to show an increased risk for major birth or cardiac malformations. Another study which looked at a total of 180 children exposed to methylphenidate during pregnancy showed similar results. There was another small, observational study that did show some potential associations between the use of methylphenidate and increased risk of growth retardation, premature birth and neonatal withdrawal. However, since this study wasn’t controlled, it’s not known if it was the methylphenidate that increased these outcomes or if it was attributable to something else.

While the use of methylphenidate doesn’t seem to be directly related to birth defects, it can indirectly be harmful to a fetus. Using Quillivant XR can cause decreased appetite, weight loss, insomnia, anxiety and other side effects for a pregnant woman. It’s possible these could indirectly affect the unborn baby. For example, the baby might not get the nutrition it needs, or its development could be impacted because of the mother’s health related to the use of Quillivant.

First and foremost, if you’re already taking Quillivant and you find out you’re pregnant, don’t stop taking it without speaking to your physician. Sometimes Quillivant XR and other stimulant medications can cause withdrawal symptoms. Going through a cold turkey withdrawal from Quillivant can be dangerous during pregnancy and can increase the risk of a miscarriage. Once you speak to your doctor, you may be able to determine if there are alternatives to taking Quillivant XR while pregnant. For example, some women may be able to manage their symptoms of ADHD in other ways, or their functionality may not be significantly affected without medicine. Talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is one option that pregnant women often find helps significantly with ADHD. Sometimes lifestyle changes can also be beneficial to manage ADHD symptoms without medication. If medication is needed, a doctor might want to keep the dose as low as possible to reduce exposure to the fetus. It may be that a doctor advises a pregnant woman not to use Quillivant XR during the first trimester when major development is happening. Then, the symptoms can be monitored during this time, and the healthcare provider will be able to make the best recommendations.

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