Procardia and Pregnancy
In studies of pregnant animals, Procardia (nifedipine) was shown to increase the risk of miscarriages and birth defects, such as cleft palate. However, animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. A healthcare provider may still prescribe Procardia if he or she believes the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the fetus.
An Overview of Procardia and PregnancyFor women who are pregnant, Procardia® (nifedipine) may not be safe. This is based on animal studies that looked at the effects of Procardia during pregnancy.
What Is Pregnancy Category C?The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Procardia was given a pregnancy Category C rating because of potential problems in animal studies. When given to pregnant rabbits, mice, and rats, Procardia increased the risk of miscarriages and birth defects. These birth defects included problems with fingers or toes, rib deformities, and cleft palate.
However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
Procardia is sometimes used to stop preterm labor, especially when other medications have failed. Procardia helps to relax the smooth muscle of the uterus, stopping premature labor. Since Procardia is not approved for stopping preterm labor, this is considered an "off-label" use.