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Alcohol-Containing Medications

Exposure to alcohol-containing medications during pregnancy

Facundo Garcia-Bournissen, MD, Yaron Finkelstein, MD, Massoud Rezvani, MD, Gideon Koren, MD, FRCPC

September 2006

ABSTRACT

QUESTION

A pregnant patient consulted her physician after discovering that a diphenhydramine preparation (Benadryl elixir) she used for allergy symptoms during the first trimester of her pregnancy contained 15% alcohol. Should she be concerned about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in her baby?

ANSWER

Most ethanol-containing medical preparations are safe during pregnancy. Adult doses of some elixirs with high ethanol concentrations might produce blood levels similar to those achieved by drinking 1 alcoholic beverage. Caution is advisable when prescribing ethanol-containing elixirs to pregnant women, as is informing them about the alcohol content.

QUESTION

Une patiente enceinte a consulté son médecin après avoir découvert qu’une préparation de diphenhydramine (l’élixir Bénadryl), qu’elle prenait durant le premier trimestre de sa grossesse pour des symptômes d’allergie, contenait 15% d’alcool. Devrait-elle s’inquiéter de la possibilité du syndrome d’intoxication fœtale à l’alcool chez son bébé?

RÉPONSE

La plupart des préparations médicales contenant de l’éthanol sont sécuritaires durant la grossesse. Une dose pour adulte de certains élixirs à forte concentration d’éthanol pourrait produire des taux d’alcool dans le sang semblables à ceux produits après avoir bu 1 consommation d’alcool. Il est conseillé d’être prudents lorsqu’on prescrit des élixirs contenant de l’éthanol aux femmes enceintes et de bien les renseigner sur le contenu en alcool.

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The information on this website is not intended as a substitute for the advice and care of your doctor or other health-care provider. Always consult your doctor if you have any questions about exposures during pregnancy and before you take any medications.

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