How Safe Are Asthma Inhalers in Pregnant Women

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Women are more cautious about their drug intake when they are pregnant because certain medicines are not safe to use during pregnancy. The doctors are the ones who prescribe what particular medicine is good for a particular situation. Wrong use of medicine may put the mother and the baby at risk. So it is important to consult a doctor before taking any medicine, especially when pregnant.

For instance, soon-to-be-moms with asthma are usually recommended by experts to use inhalers instead of taking pills because it is said that less medicine will reach inside the womb. Using asthma inhalers, aside from being effective in controlling asthma, is also safe to pregnant women.

Uncontrolled asthma is not good for babies because they may only receive little oxygen that can lead to problems like premature delivery. Aside from that, pre-eclampsia and status asthmaticus are also worst pregnancy complications that could happen when major asthma attacks are not well-controlled. Pre-eclampsia is an abnormal health condition wherein pregnant women usually have an elevated blood pressure, fluid retention, and an increase of protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Status asthmaticus is a severe asthma attack associated with potential respiratory failure, which can be life-threatening. This is refractory to usual bronchodilator therapy that urgent medical treatment is required. Anti-inflammatory and bronchodilators are two categories of medication available to treat asthma. Anti-inflammatory drugs are regular long-term medication used to prevent and keep asthma attacks under control and reduce inflammation of soft tissues in the lungs. Bronchodilators, on the other hand, are relievers that relax and open the airways to increase airflow to the lungs.

Here are some of the prescribed anti-inflammatory and bronchodilators to pregnant women.

• Cromolyn sodium (Intal) – This medicine is used to prevent bronchial asthma. It is safe to use from first to sixth months of pregnancy. The study conducted in 1984 showed that there were no congenital defects founded throughout the pregnancy of more than 300 women after they used this anti-inflammatory agent, together with other drugs.

• Nedocromil sodium (Tilade) – This is an inhaled anti-inflammatory medication that prevents inflamed tissues when allergic reaction takes place. The medicine that passes into the breast milk in lactating mothers is too small to put the baby at risk. This drug is not considered a major tetratogenic risk. However, to seek medical advice from a doctor is still advisable to keep both the mother and the infant safe.

• Corticosteroids – Inhaled corticosteroids can reduce asthma attacks in pregnant women by treating inflammation in the lungs. Inhaling this drug is more effective than oral corticosteroids (tablets) because it is directly absorbed by the lungs. It has been tested in pregnancy and revealed that it will not harm both the mother and baby. Based on the Canadian research from the University of Montreal in Canada, the chance of a baby to have abnormalities is unlikely to happen in mothers who are inhaling corticosteroids while pregnant. Therefore, this medication is considered as the best-studied controllers in pregnancy.

• Salbutamol (Ventolin) – This is a bronchodilator commonly prescribed to treat bronchospasm, tightening of the muscles around airways. Bronchospasm is a normal physiological reaction to hyperventilation and one of the features of asthma. But it is important to note that a high dose of Salbutamol suppresses the contractions of the uterus.

Asthma is one of the Common chronic diseases that affect the respiratory system. The said medical condition is usually triggered by allergies. Children, adults, and even pregnant women can be at risk of this particular respiratory disease especially if they belong in a family with asthma. The worst symptoms of asthma occur in later pregnancy. So treating asthma attacks ahead of time is the best way to prevent and control a worse asthma episode.