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MS Contin and Pregnancy

Based on the results of studies on MS Contin and pregnancy, the drug is classified as a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that the drug may not be safe for use during pregnancy, but may still be prescribed in some situations. Animal studies have shown that morphine (the active ingredient in MS Contin) can cause various birth defects, such as skeletal problems and brain disease. If you take the drug during the later stages of pregnancy, MS Contin may cause narcotic withdrawal in the infant after delivery, leading to symptoms such as fast breathing, vomiting, and tremors.

An Overview of Taking MS Contin During Pregnancy

MS Contin® (morphine sulfate ER) is a prescription pain medication that contains morphine, a narcotic drug. Based on animal studies, the drug may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although there may situations in which the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Pregnancy Category C

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a 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 adequately 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 "default" pregnancy Category C rating.
When given to pregnant animals in the second trimester, morphine (the active ingredient of MS Contin) caused problems. These problems included an increased risk for birth defects (such as skeletal problems) and encephalopathy (brain disease or injury). Interestingly, when male rats were given large doses of morphine before mating, it decreased the size of the litter. Animal studies have also shown that morphine may also decrease the size of the brain, testes, and overall body weight of the offspring. Other problems seen in animal studies included slow growth, development, and sexual maturation, as well as decreased male fertility.
MS Contin is a narcotic, and using this drug during the end of a pregnancy may cause narcotic withdrawal in the infant after delivery. Such withdrawal symptoms may include:
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Fast breathing
  • Irritability and excessive crying
  • Shakiness (tremors)
  • Increased stools
  • Sneezing
  • Yawning
  • Vomiting
  • Fever.
MS Contin is not recommended for pain control during labor or delivery. Not only can it slow down the progression of labor, but it may also cause breathing problems in the newborn.
However, pregnancy Category C medicines, including MS Contin, may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
8 Frequent Pain Syndromes

MS Contin Drug Information

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