Conditions such as acid reflux of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) need appropriate medical attention and clinical care. These gastric conditions are often due to an excessive build-up of stomach acids. These acids may climb up your food pipe and may cause severe damage to the inner linings. Pantoprazole is a proton pump inhibitor which reduces the quantum of acids your stomach makes. But, can you take pantoprazole while you are pregnant? It is a wise thing to know more on this.

Proton pump inhibiting (PPI) drugs – such as pantoprazole – help lower acid levels. This reduction soon makes way for healing of the inner lining of the gastric tract. Pantoprazole is also used for the treatment of ulcers, heartburn (also known as acid reflux or GERD), etc. In some cases, timely intake of PPIs have also minimized / prevented risks associated with the onset of cancers in the gastric system. It is hence important to take this drug as per the instructions of your treating doctor.

Always remember that no two people living with GERD / acid reflux are prescribed with the same dosage plan of pantoprazole. Strength of doses and duration of the dosage plan depend upon multiple factors; key among them include your age, body weight, severity of your clinical condition as well as how well your system responds to the first few doses of proton pump inhibitors. This drug is available in multiple forms – namely, as a pill, granules or as a syrup. It is highly recommended to take the pills along with water. You may take the tablets either before or after a meal. It is however considered unsafe to crush or bite the pills in your mouth.

On the other hand, those prescribed to take granules must consume their dose prior to a meal; it is considered a good practice to take it at least 45 minutes before a meal. In a few one-off instances, antacids are also administered along with pantoprazole. However, if you are taking drugs such as sucralfate – you are advised to take pantoprazole at least 45 minutes prior to taking other meds. Once the initial signs of heartburns or acid reflux cease to show up, some people may stop using this drug. This is not a safe practice; instead, always adhere to your medication plan. In other words, never discontinue the intake of this med without consulting with your caregiving team.

Can your administer pantoprazole to women who are pregnant?

In general, pregnant women are advised to stay watchful of the drugs they take – especially, during the advanced stages of their pregnancy. In case of pantoprazole, only limited data is available on how safe it is when taken by pregnant women. However, a few animal-based studies have been done on this topic. These tests indicate a likely impairment of bone health of animal’s fetus – especially, bones of limbs. Further studies performed on animals strengthen the link between intake of PPI drugs and a likely fetal damage. Owing to such outcomes, many medical practitioners never prescribe pantoprazole to women who are pregnant. In case the condition necessitates the intake of a proton pump inhibitor, all possible alternatives are tried out; only when no safer alternatives exist, this drug is given to pregnant women.

As per Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), pantoprazole is classified under category B3. This means that the drug’s safety has been studied only over a very restricted number of women who are pregnant (or, among those of childbearing age group). This category also warns of likely damages the drug may inflict upon the fetus as well as the mother. However, US-based food and drug administration (FDA) has not classified this drug under any distinctive category. In general, this drug is given to women only when the benefits far outweigh the risks of side effects (such as a likely damage to your fetus).

Women who are breastfeeding or nursing a newly born infant also must stay away from pantoprazole. This is mainly because – the active ingredients of this drug are likely to enter into mother’s milk. Babies who consumed breastmilk (with traces of a PPI’s ingredients) are at a greater risk of developing sleeping difficulties, feeding problems as well as they may cry more often. Drugs of this genre are seldom used among nursing women; caregivers prescribe such drugs only when there are no other alternatives.

It becomes equally important to know the likely unintended discomforts pantoprazole (or other such PPIs) may cause. Commonly experienced side effects and discomforts include feeling very dizzy, onset of pains in your abdominal region, diarrhea as well as indigestion. Among a few women, pantoprazole is likely to cause insufficiency of vitamins – especially of the B12 genre. Women living with osteoporosis or other bone related disorders must stay wary of using pantoprazole. Persistent use of pantoprazole can impair bone health, and in middle-aged women, the drug may cause a severe loss of bones. Women with prior renal disorders / kidney problems must tell their doctor about such conditions. You are likely to witness conditions such as inflammation of kidneys as well as a sizable drop in filtering capability of the renal system; hence, you are advised to keep away from such drugs.

In some women, pantoprazole has triggered seizures, cramping of abdominal muscles, excessive spells of weakness, etc. Women – especially, those who are pregnant and also those living with a compromised immunity level must consult with their caregiving team upon noticing one or more of these discomforts. Women living in any of the Canadian provinces are advised to call Health Canada and seek immediate clinical attention; you may also go to a poison control center on an urgent mode. Women who are residents of the US can either call 911 or contact the helpdesk of the food and drug administration (FDA) without any further delay.

In sum, pantoprazole is unsafe for women who are pregnant. Very limited research has been done on the safety of this drug onto women who are pregnant. It is hence a safe practice to talk to your caregiver (a professionally qualified physician) and / or a pharmacist prior to taking meds for acid reflux or heartburns.

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