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Safety of antihistamines during pregnancy and lactation

Miranda So, RPh, Pina Bozzo, Miho Inoue, MD and Adrienne Einarson, RN

May 2010



Many of my pregnant and breastfeeding patients suffer from allergies and frequently ask me about the safety of antihistamines during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Should I advise them to use the older sedating medications? I have heard that they might be safer than the newer nonsedating class of drugs. Or have the newer ones been studied as well?


First-generation antihistamines are considered safe to use during pregnancy. There are relatively fewer data on the non sedating second-generation antihistamines; however, published studies are reassuring. All antihistamines are considered safe to use during breastfeeding, as minimal amounts are excreted in the breast milk and would not cause any adverse effects on a breastfeeding infant.


Beaucoup de mes patientes enceintes ou qui allaitent souffrent d’allergies et me demandent souvent des questions à propos de l’innocuité des antihistaminiques durant la grossesse et l’allaitement. Devrais-je leur conseiller d’utiliser les plus anciens sédatifs? J’ai entendu dire qu’ils étaient peut-être plus sécuritaires que les plus récentes classes de médicaments non sédatifs, à moins que les plus récents produits aient aussi fait l’objet d’études.


L’utilisation des antihistaminiques de la première génération est considérée sécuritaire pendant la grossesse. Il y a relativement moins de données sur les antihistaminiques non sédatifs de la deuxième génération; par ailleurs, les études publiées sont rassurantes. Tous les antihistaminiques sont considérés sécuritaires durant l’allaitement, étant donné les quantités minimes passant dans le lait maternel, qui ne devraient pas causer d’effets indésirables chez le nourrisson allaité.

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