Is It Dangerous to Take Valtrex During Pregnancy?
Taking medications during pregnancy entails extreme caution especially during the first trimester when organ development takes place. When unwarranted intake happens, there is a high risk of passing the medication to the fetus via the blood passing through the placenta and umbilical vessels. Most drugs such as antibiotics possess harmful physical or mental side effects which are rarely reversible. In worse case scenarios, death of the fetus may happen especially because the fetal body is very vulnerable and is still developing. With these medication alerts for pregnant women, they are advised not to take any drugs unless prescribed. For some instances, the risk-benefit ratio is weighed. An example is the herpes drug, Valtrex which may be taken by women uninformed of their pregnancy. Though it is under the classification B, physicians still do not fully trust its absolute safety for both the mother and the unborn child.
Valtrex is a medication taken to decrease the capacity of the herpes virus to multiply inside the body. It treats cold sores and shingles, and controls herpes outbreaks in HIV-positive individuals. It is also a preventive or prophylactic drug against the spread of genital herpes to other adults. The drug is considered to only be a symptomatic treatment, not a cure since viruses are self-limiting as long as safe sex practices and healthy living are observed religiously. Taking this medication can help alleviate the risk of passing the disease condition to the baby. He or she can get infected once he or she passes through the birth canal during delivery. A slim chance of placental transmission is possible, but the risk should never be taken for granted. As such, physicians should readily be informed if the condition exists and whether or not the medication is being taken. Valtrex during pregnancy still has a neutral tone, but it should never be neglected just like that.
Efforts to derive conclusive data on its relative safety have been started in 1984. However, the link to birth defects was not established since only 800 participated. The small number cannot speak for the majority so up to now there is still no hard evidence. Another study has been done with rabbits and rats. This yielded negative evidence of developmental malformation during organogenesis. Glaxo Smith Kline, the maker of Valtrex conducted this research with Valacyclovir hydrochloride, the active ingredient of Valtrex. As such, the Food and Drug Administration cannot fully ban it for pregnant women.
Indeed, taking Valtrex during pregnancy is not proven to yield destructive and detrimental effects to the forming fetus. However, it should be noted that immediately after birth, the fetus is now on his or her own to metabolize the drug which may have been persistent in his or her system. From this point of view, there is a risk of hepatic overload as the immature liver tries to break down the toxic substance. As such, a great risk for liver failure or other organ defects may still pop out. Different infants may also have different trigger points because of variations in their genes. Some may be sensitive while some may be resistant to allergic reactions. As such, great caution should never go out of hand.