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Pain and Pregnancy, Part Three

The FDA has clearly established guidelines for safe usage of medications during pregnancy.
Generally speaking, there are five categories of drugs: 


Pregnancy category A Adequate research has been done with the conclusion that drugs in this category are not likely to cause any harm to the fetus in the first trimester as well as later in pregnancy.
Pregnancy Category B Studies carried out on animals have shown no adverse effects on the fetus; however, there is a lack of controlled studies on human pregnancy.
Pregnancy category C Animal studies have shown evidence of harmful effects on the fetus; however, no controlled study has been done on a human pregnancy. The medicines may be prescribed in cases where the potential benefits outweigh the possible adverse effects.
Pregnancy category D Studies done on human pregnancy have shown positive risks to the fetus. However, doctors might prescribe them in certain cases where the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
Pregnancy category X
Both human and an…

Pain and Pregnancy, Part Two

Fibromyalgia was not recognized as a clinical disorder until sometime in the 1990s, but it has probably existed for a lot longer than that.  People of almost any age can be affected by fibromyalgia, but many people are first diagnosed in their twenties. According to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association, 75-90% of persons affected by fibromyalgia are women. For these reasons, it's important to share a few thoughts about the management of fibromyalgia in women during the childbearing years.


There are medications for fibromyalgia, but at the present time, these drugs are not recommended for use during pregnancy.  Therefore, alternative methods of fibromyalgia management are very important. These methods include exercise, yoga, meditation,  massage and rest.  Exercise is key, because it keeps you fit and improves mood due to an increase in serotonin levels. Serotonin seems to be a key player in helping one to manage stress, in calming anxiety, and improving mood. An…

Pain and Pregnancy, Part One

Pregnancy is such an exciting time in a woman's life (usually)...but it does not come without its pains or discomforts!  Additionally, some women have pre-existing conditions that they must endure in addition to being pregnant. Sadly, many chronic pain conditions are among the possibilities.






In terms of medications, there are guidelines that physicians follow with respect to pain management in pregnancy.  Tylenol (acetaminophen) is generally regarded as a safe and effective treatment for most pregnant women, but it has been reported that babies born to women who used it had an increased risk of developing hyperactivity issues.  The FDA has established a system for categorizing drugs as to risk in pregnancy.  There are some medical reference books available to pharmacists and other health care workers to help pregnant and nursing mothers to assess risks of specific drugs to both developing and nursing babies.

For the most part, great caution is advised when using medication of any…

Do You Take Lyrica? Here's The Latest...

Lately I've seen a lot of television spots for prescription medications...for products that treat diabetes, psoriasis, and of course, chronic pain. While think it's generally good for patients to know about pharmaceutical options available to them, sometimes I wonder if patients consider all the pros and cons of each medication before visiting their doctors asking for prescriptions for this or that.



Case in point--one product I see quite often is a prescription product known as Lyrica®. The generic name is pregabalin and it's indicated for chronic pain. The general mechanism of action for this drug is that it dampens the nervous impulses (including pain signals from body to brain) as they travel along the neurons in the human bodies.  While this drug is categorized as a controlled substance, it's not really habit forming and does not pose risk of addiction like the opioids do. This product is widely used and does offer some relief to patients...but there are new studi…