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How Safe Are “Safe” Medication Lists?

The internet is a great resource for many kinds of information. However, a new study points to concerns over the reliability of online lists of medications labeled “safe” for pregnant women.

Medications of all kinds carry teratogenic risk – the risk of chemically causing birth defects. Some medications have been shown to be safe for pregnant women to take, but most (over 70%) have no published human to data on the risk of birth defects.

Today, more and more people are using the internet for medical advice and other health care resources. There are countless online resources that provide “safe medication lists” for pregnant women. But how safe are they?

A new report published in the Journal of Parmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety studied lists of 245 medications listed as “safe” for pregnant women.

An analysis of these lists found divergent data of what medications were “safe,” and only half of the websites encouraged readers to consult with a medical provider prior to starting or stopping a medication during pregnancy.

While none of the medications had a moderate or high risk rating from the “Teratogen Information System (TERIS), 42% of the drugs where of undetermined danger, meaning there is not sufficient information to evaluate their safety.

This report highlights the importance of community-based, professional health guidance. If access to health care professionals is not available, more patients will turn to publically available resources with limited reliability.

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