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Expert Q&A

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Is it OK to take medication when I'm trying to conceive?

Asked by Esmeralda Cano, Harlingen, Texas

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Hello, I am trying to get pregnant but suffer from Barrett's esophagus. I have been taking Prevacid and other types of medication. I asked my doctor if this will affect me or the baby when I become pregnant and his answer was no. I just wanted to ask someone else. Thank you.

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Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Thank you for your question. I am glad you are concerned about the effects of medication taken shortly before or during pregnancy, since what a mother or mother-to-be ingests can potentially have an impact on the developing baby.

Since I don't know what other medications you're on, I will focus on Prevacid (generic name lansoprazole) which is a type of drug that blocks stomach acids (it is a proton pump inhibitor or PPI to be specific) and is used for conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, esophagitis and peptic ulcers.

For use in pregnancy, Prevacid is considered a Category B medication by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning that it may be acceptable to use but that either (a) animal studies have shown no risk for problems but human studies are not available or (b) animal studies showed some adverse effects but human studies were performed and showed no risk.

I encourage future parents to assess the risks and benefits of all medications in discussions with their doctor and pharmacist for recommendations on a case-by-case basis.

Good luck!

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