Talwin While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Can You Take Talwin While Pregnant?

Talwin is a prescription medication that combines two ingredients -pentazocine and naloxone. Pentazocine is an opioid that can be given to treat pain that’s moderate or severe. Sometimes pentazocine is used as a part of surgical anesthesia as well. Pentazocine binds to opioid receptors found throughout the central nervous system. In doing so, pentazocine and other opioids can slow certain functions including breathing. These drugs have to be used carefully and instructions should be followed exactly. Otherwise, severe or fatal respiratory depression can occur. Along with slowing breathing, opioids also change how pain signals are sent and they alter the emotional response to pain. Pentazocine is sometimes used during labor and delivery to relieve the pain of childbirth.

Naloxone is combined with pentazocine in the Talwin formulation. Naloxone is an opioid reversal drug also found in brand-name medications like Narcan and Evzio. Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, including the respiratory depression that occurs. Naloxone can effectively bind to opioid receptors and, in doing so, it can reverse the effects of opioids that were used. Overall naloxone is considered to be a very safe drug with minimal side effects.

Talwin comes in tablet form. Often people will try to dissolve or crush opioid tablets when they abuse the drug in order to get a euphoric high. If someone tries to disrupt the Talwin tablet in any way, the naloxone will take effect. While Talwin is specifically formulated to reduce the risk of abuse, it can still occur. Addiction and dependence can also occur with Talwin, although the risk is lower than with other opioids that don’t contain naloxone.

Can you take Talwin while pregnant? The answer is, generally, no. While pentazocine might be given during labor and delivery, the use of this medication is mostly likely not safe at other points during pregnancy. There are different reasons for this. First opioids, generally, are linked to a higher likelihood of certain birth defects and babies who were exposed to these types of drugs are often born dependent upon opioids. The use of Talwin or any other medication should only occur under the supervision and instruction of a medical professional.

Talwin While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Talwin is a category C drug during pregnancy. It if it’s used close to delivery, it’s a category D drug. Talwin’s active opioid ingredient, pentazocine, has been linked to birth defects in animal studies. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), opioids increase the risk of birth defects, such as spina bifida, hydrocephaly, and  congenital heart defects. Of course, using Talwin during pregnancy doesn’t mean that these defects will absolutely occur, but the risk is present. The use of Talwin during pregnancy is also associated with premature birth and low birth weight.

While the risk of birth defects related to Talwin is still fairly unclear based on research, there is a definitive link between the use of opioids during pregnancy and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). When a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb, they may become addicted or dependent upon that substance. After delivery, the baby may have symptoms of withdrawal. NAS from opioids like Talwin can include sleep and feeding disturbances, jitteriness and irritability, and problems gaining weight. Most babies with symptoms of NAS have to stay in the NICU for specialized care for a period of time.

The use of Talwin during labor and delivery may be safe if it’s recommended by a healthcare professional and is monitored. It’s much riskier to take Talwin during the first trimester, which is when major fetal development occurs. Taking it in the second and third trimesters can also be dangerous because of the potential for NAS. It’s unlikely that a doctor would prescribe Talwin during pregnancy. If so, it’s because the doctor has decided that the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you’re addicted to an opioid, such as Talwin, help is available. It’s important to safely detox because withdrawal during pregnancy can cause complications. A medically-assisted detox may be the right option for pregnant women who use or abuse opioids. Beyond that, an addiction treatment program may be valuable for a pregnant woman who wants to stop recreationally abusing opioids.

If you’re interested in learning more about detox and addiction treatment, contact The Recovery Village today.

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.