Tofranil While Pregnant: What You Need to Know
Can You take Tofranil While Pregnant?
Tofranil is a prescription medication used to treat depression. It’s classified as a tricyclic antidepressant drug. Tofranil is also sometimes used to treat symptoms of ADHD. The generic ingredient in Tofranil is called imipramine. Tofranil works by balancing the natural chemicals found in the brain, in order to regulate mood. Side effects of Tofranil include dry mouth, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness and nausea or vomiting. It’s important for people who begin using antidepressants to monitor their moods and any changes in mental status. A doctor should be alerted right away if someone feels they could be experiencing changes in their mood, thoughts or behavior. As with other antidepressants, Tofranil has a black box warning about the potential for suicidal thoughts or behaviors to develop.
Tofranil shouldn’t be used with monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) drugs. Using Tofranil with an MAOI can cause seizures or death. There is also a warning of the risk of serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome can cause delirium, dizziness, rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and seizures. Serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening.
Can you take Tofranil while pregnant? Like other antidepressants, the answer to this question is not clear. Many antidepressants are category C pregnancy drugs, which indicates that the drug may pose risks if it’s used during pregnancy. Tofranil is classified as a category C drug because it may have shown the potential for harm to a fetus in animal studies; however, there isn’t enough research to conclusively determine the safety for humans during pregnancy.
Will taking Tofranil cause birth defects? This is a difficult question to answer because there is such limited research on its use during pregnancy. With the use of an antidepressant like Tofranil or any category C drug, pregnant women should speak to their doctors who can evaluate the possible risks of taking Tofranil while pregnant, versus the benefits.
Tofranil might pose the greatest risk of birth defects when it’s used during the first trimester -when major fetal development is happening. A healthcare provider will usually weigh these risks and benefits and determine whether or not it’s advisable for a pregnant woman to continue taking her current medication. If you’re already taking Tofranil by prescription, don’t stop using it if you become pregnant without first talking to your healthcare provider.
While there isn’t a lot known as to whether Tofranil will cause birth defects, it can cause discontinuation symptoms in a newborn. The symptoms of discontinuation are basically withdrawal symptoms on the newborn baby. The closer to delivery Tofranil was used, the more likely these symptoms are to occur. Some symptoms of discontinuation following Tofranil exposure can include high-pitched crying, sleep disturbances, and tremors. These symptoms can be treated, but the baby may need to stay in the NICU.
While the risks of using Tofranil while pregnant can’t be ruled out, this isn’t to say it shouldn’t be used. Untreated depression can have its own adverse effects during pregnancy. For example, with untreated depression, a pregnant woman may be less likely to take care of her health and wellness and go to prenatal appointments. If a woman has mild depression, however, her doctor may advise she taper off Tofranil. With mild depression, sometimes alternative treatments can be used. Alternative depression treatments can include lifestyle changes and talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. It’s essential to talk to a healthcare provider before making any change, whether that is starting or stopping Tofranil.
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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