Fluconazole (Diflucan): Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Birth Control
Diflucan, the trade name for fluconazole, is a powerful antifungal agent that is used in the treatment of different fungal infections. It is classed as an azole agent and can work against common fungi such as candida.
Fungal and yeast infections can occur in any one and are also seen in women who are pregnant or who may be breastfeeding. In this article, we shall take a brief look at the problems and clinical applications of fluconazole in pregnancy, breastfeeding and birth control.
Diflucan and pregnancy
Fungal infections can occur during pregnancy and in such situations antifungal agents may need to be used. Using fluconazole (Diflucan) during pregnancy has been reported to have a rare side-effect of the growing fetus developing some form of birth defect. However, the US FDA states that this drug usually causes the side-effect when treatment is offered in high doses for a long period of time in women in their first trimester of pregnancy. The risk does not appear to be present when a single low-dose of Diflucan is administered.
It must be borne in mind that despite this risk, sometimes Diflucan may need to be prescribed in some pregnant women. In such situations, the benefits of prescribing the drug will be weighed against the risks of it and the drug is prescribed if absolutely necessary. If patients who are taking Diflucan become pregnant, then it is essential for them to inform their health care practitioner straightaway.
Diflucan and breastfeeding
There is always a concern that any medication taken by pregnant women may eventually be transmitted to the infant through breast milk. It appears that Diflucan can be prescribed to nursing mothers as the amount of the drug that is transmitted through breast milk is miniscule. The effects on the infant are only a few and can include mild stomach upset, runny stools and flushing of the face.
Diflucan and birth control
Drug interactions are common and fluconazole is no exception. Birth control is often used by young women and unfortunately fungal and yeast infections are common in the same age group. The prescription of Diflucan bears a concern that the drug may interact with birth control pills. Clinical studies however have looked at whether or not the administration of Diflucan in women on the oral contraceptive pill can actually have any form of interaction. It appears that while the levels of the oral contraceptive pill hormone levels rise in the blood stream, it does not appear to cause a reduction in the efficacy of the contraceptive itself. In other words, taking Diflucan when on the birth control pill does not significantly alter the effect of the birth control pill.
Diflucan is a powerful antifungal agent that is used in various clinical conditions. However, as is the case with any drug, caution needs to be observed if the patient is pregnant, is breastfeeding or is on the birth control pill. It appears that there are no significant interactions in either of these conditions that would warrant the withdrawal of the drug, except if it is taken in high doses in the first trimester of pregnancy.