Versed While Pregnant: What You Need to Know
Can You Take Versed While Pregnant?
Versed is a prescription, brand-name drug classified as a benzodiazepine. The active ingredient in Versed is midazolam. Midazolam is used for a variety of purposes. It can be used for anesthesia and sedation before a procedure as well as a sleep aid, and in some cases, it can be used to treat anxiety or agitation. Versed can induce drowsiness and reduce anxiety, and when it’s taken, it can prevent the creation of new memories during the time it’s effective. Sometimes midazolam is also used to treat seizures. It can be administered in different ways including orally, via muscle injection, as a nasal spray, through the cheek and intravenously. The side effects of Versed are similar to the potential effects of other benzodiazepines. Because benzodiazepines slow the central nervous system, they can also cause a slowdown in breathing and blood pressure. Sometimes if Versed is given to children or older adults, paradoxical effects can occur. This means that the opposite of expected effects may happen, such as wakefulness. The active ingredient in Versed, midazolam, is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. The long-term use of benzodiazepines can cause possible ongoing effects, despite their frequent use. For example, some research shows that people who have been taking benzodiazepines for a long time may experience memory deficits.
Can you take Versed while pregnant? There are different situations where a pregnant woman might question whether or not she can take Versed. First would be a situation where she’s going to be undergoing a procedure. If a doctor administers Versed to a pregnant woman before a procedure, there has been a consideration for the safety and the risks. Some doctors may opt to give a woman a medication like Versed if the benefits outweigh the risks. Another situation would be the recreational use of Versed. Benzodiazepines like Versed have a high potential for recreational misuse. In this situation, it would not be safe to use Versed while pregnant.
Versed is a category D pregnancy drug, indicating that in most cases it’s not safe for use in pregnant women. The FDA has different categories they place drugs and substances in. These categories are meant to provide information about the drugs’ safety during pregnancy. Category A drugs are considered the safest, and category B drugs are believed to be fairly safe as well. Category C drugs may still be used during pregnancy. However, they have shown evidence of harm to a fetus in animal studies. There is limited well-controlled research with humans and category C drugs. Category D drugs have shown evidence of harm to a fetus, and they should only be used if the benefits far outweigh the risks. There are also category X drugs, which shouldn’t be used during pregnancy.
There is limited research looking at the specific effects of Versed on a fetus. However, benzodiazepines are linked to an increased risk of certain birth defects if used during pregnancy. There is some evidence that associates the use of benzodiazepines and effects like cleft lip and cleft palate. There may also be a relationship between benzodiazepines and an increased risk of low birthweight and preterm birth. Some research points to the potential for benzodiazepine use in the second and third trimester to increase the risk of effects on brain development. There’s no way to know for sure whether Versed would have adverse effects on a fetus, but before it’s used, a pregnant woman should have a conversation with her healthcare provider.
Along with a raised risk of certain birth defects, exposure to Versed can cause a baby to be born dependent on it. There are also reported symptoms of toxicity related to benzodiazepine exposure in the womb. Signs of toxicity are most likely if Versed or benzodiazepines are used close to delivery. Symptoms of benzodiazepine toxicity in a newborn can include sedation, breathing problems and floppiness resulting from decreased muscle tone. If the baby is born dependent on Versed and goes through withdrawal following birth, it’s called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS for short. NAS occurs because substances like Versed pass through the placenta. Just as the mother can become dependent on Versed, so can the baby. Once the baby is born and is no longer getting the drug, withdrawal symptoms can start. Symptoms of NAS can include diarrhea, excessive crying, fever, irritability and breathing problems. Other symptoms of NAS can include problems eating and sleeping and failure to gain weight or thrive. NICU treatment is often required.
If you are pregnant and you need a procedure where a doctor would ordinarily administer Versed, he or she may speak with you about alternatives or how the benefits outweigh the risks. If you’re using Versed recreationally, it’s important not to stop suddenly even if you find out you’re pregnant. Stopping benzodiazepines cold turkey can be dangerous for a mother and a baby. Symptoms of cold turkey benzodiazepine withdrawal can include seizures, and complications such as miscarriage can occur. Instead, speak with your doctor about the safest way to stop using Versed while pregnant. Options can include a controlled tapering off schedule or a medically-assisted detox program. Following a medically-assisted Versed detox, you may find that the best next step is an addiction treatment program.
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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