Cisplatin and Pregnancy

Animal studies on cisplatin and pregnancy have shown that this chemotherapy drug could cause potential problems (such as birth defects and miscarriages) in a fetus. As a result, the FDA has classified it as a pregnancy Category D medicine, meaning it is generally not safe for pregnant women.

Can Pregnant Women Take Cisplatin?

In general, cisplatin is not considered safe for use during pregnancy. In animal studies that looked at the effects of cisplatin during pregnancy, the drug caused both miscarriages and birth defects. It also increased the risk of cancer in the adult offspring.
 

What Is Pregnancy Category D?

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 D is given to medicines that have shown clear evidence of risk to the fetus in studies. Pregnancy Category D is a stronger warning than a pregnancy Category C classification. However, a pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.
 
Cisplatin was given a pregnancy Category D rating because of problems in animal studies. When given to pregnant mice, cisplatin increased the risk of miscarriages and a variety of different birth defects. When given to pregnant rats, cisplatin increased the risk of various types of cancer in the offspring.
 
There are only seven reports of the use of cisplatin in human pregnancy. In general, these cases resulted in positive outcomes, with no obvious permanent problems. However, there are not nearly enough cases to accurately reflect the true risk of any problems that might occur.
 

Final Thoughts

If you are pregnant or may become pregnant while taking cisplatin, let your healthcare provider know. He or she will consider the benefits and risks of using the medication during pregnancy before making a recommendation in your particular situation. The decision to either go ahead with or discontinue chemotherapy during pregnancy is usually a difficult one.
 
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