Actifed and Pregnancy

Because Actifed is considered a pregnancy Category C medicine, it may not be safe to take during pregnancy. Actifed may cause constriction of the blood vessels in the uterus, possibly reducing the flow of oxygen to the fetus. Also, there have been reports of certain birth defects in babies whose mothers took Actifed during the first trimester.

Is Actifed Safe During Pregnancy?

Actifed® Cold & Allergy (chlorpheniramine maleate and phenylephrine hydrochloride) is a non-prescription medication that contains a decongestant and an antihistamine. It is not known if this medication is safe for use during pregnancy.
 

Actifed and 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 studied in pregnant humans but that 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 pregnancy Category C rating.
 
There is some concern that phenylephrine (the decongestant in Actifed) may cause constriction of blood vessels in the uterus, thereby causing reduced blood flow in the uterus and possibly leading to inadequate oxygen delivery to the fetus. Also, phenylephrine can cause problems when used in combination with oxytocin or other medications used to induce labor, and dangerously high blood pressure in the mother may result.
 
Problems such as various birth defects have been reported in babies whose mothers took either of the active ingredients in Actifed during early pregnancy (the first trimester). However, much more research is necessary in order to know if Actifed actually increases the risk of such problems.
 
Pregnancy and Pain

Actifed Medication Information

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