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Subutex While Pregnant

If you are dependent on opioid medications and are pregnant, you may be wondering if you can take Subutex® (sublingual buprenorphine). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Subutex as a pregnancy Category C medicine, which means it may not be safe for use during pregnancy.
Animal studies have shown that high doses of buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Subutex, increased the risk for stillbirth, decreased litter size, and reduced offspring growth.
It is known that buprenorphine passes through the placenta to the developing fetus. Thus, using this drug during pregnancy may cause the baby to become dependent on it, which could lead to withdrawal symptoms after the baby is born, including:
  • Seizures
  • Decreased feeding
  • Breathing problems.
Due to the potential risks, Subutex should only be prescribed during pregnancy when the benefits to the mother outweigh any possible risks to her unborn child.
(Click Subutex and Pregnancy for more details on this topic. Research on Subutex use in pregnant women and animals is also discussed in more detail.)
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