Can You Take Diflucan While Pregnant?

Taking Diflucan During Pregnancy Isn't Optimal

Diflucan is a great medication for banishing pesky yeast infections. But, is it safe to use while pregnant? Unfortunately, the CDC doesn’t think so, at least not right now. Learn why you should probably steer clear of this medication and other safer ways to treat yeast infections during pregnancy.

Is Diflucan Safe During Pregnancy?

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Diflucan, also known as fluconazole, is an oral antifungal medication often prescribed to women suffering from vaginal yeast infections. A low dose of Diflucan was once generally considered okay for pregnant patients, as long as it wasn’t during the first trimester. However, things have recently changed.

In 2016, the FDA put out a statement urging doctors to use extreme caution when prescribing fluconazole/Diflucan to pregnant patients due to new evidence linking the drug to birth defects. A study conducted in Denmark of pregnant women taking oral fluconazole found that high daily doses (400 to 800 mg) resulted in birth defects and other abnormalities.

The FDA is still reviewing Diflucan to determine if these birth defects are associated with a single, low 150-mg dose of the medication. However, since the jury is still out on this, the FDA is strongly advising doctors to be cautious when considering prescribing it for their pregnant patients. And, the CDC recommends that pregnant women completely stay away from it all together and use only topical yeast infection treatments, like Monistat, even if the infection is recurrent.

Diflucan’s Pregnancy Risk Category

Prescription drugs are all assigned a "pregnancy category" which identifies fetal risk during pregnancy, with "A" being no observable risk and "D" and "X" indicating high fetal risk. All doses of Diflucan used to be considered pregnancy Category C medications. This means the studies conducted on pregnant animals have shown adverse effects on the fetus, but there haven’t been any well-controlled studies conducted on actual pregnant women.

Tips

In 2015, the pregnancy risk categories for drugs was officially changed from letters to more meaningful descriptions, but fluconazole may still be labeled with a letter category, since the labeling change is being phased in gradually.

The FDA has since changed higher doses of fluconazole to Category D, which means there is evidence of human fetal risk based on human data.

As of yet, the FDA hasn’t changed the pregnancy category for a single, low dose of Diflucan (150 mg). It still remains in Category C. But, the CDC is still strongly recommending doctors avoid it and have their patients use topical yeast infection treatments instead.

Alternatives to Diflucan

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Yeast infections are common during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester, because of all the hormonal changes your body goes through.

Luckily, Diflucan isn’t the only yeast infection cure. The CDC recommends the following two topical yeast infection products:

  • Miconazole (Monistat)
  • Clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin)

Both miconazole and clotrimazole are topical antifungal medications and come in vaginal cream or suppository versions that are inserted into the vagina. They each also offer different regimen options varying by day. During pregnancy, it’s recommended that you opt for the longer treatment options. So, go for the seven-day product instead of the one-day or three-day versions. The shorter courses aren’t as effective for pregnant women and can cause even more irritation.

There are other antifungal creams and suppositories currently on the market, like butoconazole (Femstat) and terconazole (Terazol). Neither of these, however, are on the CDC’s list of pregnancy-safe yeast infection treatment options. So, if you are interested in trying one, check with your doctor beforehand.

Always Consult Your Doctor

If you’re pregnant and think you have a yeast infection, check with your doctor before taking any medication. Your OB will want to confirm you do in fact have a yeast infection and not something else before you begin any treatment.

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