Pregnancy can often be a difficult process just on its own without also having to navigate what foods, drinks, activities, and most importantly, medications are safe for pregnant women.
What’s considered safe and unsafe during pregnancy is almost constantly changing as technology improves. People can expect to receive more accurate information and learn more about new medications that are released even if their effects on pregnant women are not yet known.
There are so many potential uncomfortable side effects of being pregnant, including intense nausea, constipation, hemorrhoids, and insomnia, to name a few. This is why it is so important to know what is and isn’t safe for women to take to try and help ease these symptoms.
During pregnancy, insomnia especially can take a toll on your already overtaxed body. Because of this, many women want to know if it is safe to use sleeping pills when pregnant.
While women may be more likely to avoid using benzodiazepines like Xanax, non-benzo sedatives like Lunesta may seem like a safer alternative. But is Lunesta actually safe to take while pregnant?
What Are Pregnancy Medication Categories?
In order to help pregnant women determine what medications are safe for them to use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has different pregnancy medication categories on a scale of the risks associated with the use of a given drug.
There are five pregnancy categories:
- Class A drugs have been thoroughly tested on people and have been shown to be safe to use and pose no risk to the fetus.
- Class B drugs have either not been tested on people but have been studied on animals with no negative effects observed or have been tested on people and animals. While there may have been risks to the fetus in animals, there were none observed in the people tested.
- Class C drugs have not had enough studies done on animals or people, or there have been studies on animals that have shown risk to the fetus. But there is no information on how the drug affects a human fetus.
- Class D drugs have been proven to pose a risk to a human fetus, but the benefits may still outweigh the dangers if the mother has a life-threatening disorder that cannot be treated with safer drugs.
- Class X drugs have been conclusively proven to be harmful enough to a human fetus that it outweighs any possible benefit of taking it.
For context, there are no Class A sedatives. Benadryl is considered a Class B drug, while benzodiazepines like Xanax and Klonopin are Class D drugs. The Lunesta pregnancy category is Class C.
Lunesta and Pregnancy: A Lack of Information
Lunesta is a Class C drug because while there have been some animal studies done in which no risks to the fetuses were observed, there is little to no information available about the relationship between Lunesta and pregnancy in humans.
While Class C drugs are obviously not as overtly dangerous as drugs in Class D or C, this does not necessarily mean they are safe.
Some Class C medications that can potentially be very dangerous include over-the-counter medications like Motrin and ibuprofen, which can delay the onset of labor and increase the risk of miscarriage and possible hemorrhaging in both the mother and the fetus. Antibiotics like Cipro can cause nerve damage and muscle and skeletal problems in fetuses.
Since Class C drugs still have the potential to do serious harm to an unborn baby, the safest course of action may be to avoid Lunesta and other sleeping pills when pregnant.
Side Effects of Lunesta: What You Need to Know
While the Lunesta pregnancy category means that the extent of possible risks to the mother and fetus are not yet known, there are still plenty of reasons to avoid taking Lunesta while pregnant based purely on the common side effects of Lunesta.
Some of the regularly experienced side effects of Lunesta include:
- Memory problems
- Daytime drowsiness, also known as “sleep hangover”
- Difficulty concentrating
So, even if Lunesta can help solve one issue, it has the potential to create new and possibly worse ones. Side effects like ongoing daytime grogginess and depression especially can lead to pregnant women putting themselves in unnecessarily risky situations. Then there are also the more severe possible side effects of Lunesta, such as:
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Memory loss
- Increased aggression
If someone taking Lunesta experiences these side effects, they should stop all use and contact their doctor. All of these side effects can lead to serious negatives consequences for both you and your baby.
Sleepwalking, in particular, can cause someone taking Lunesta to leave their home, eat a large amount of food, and even engage in intercourse or get behind the wheel of a car while still asleep, with no memory of their actions later.
It is easy to see how these side effects of Lunesta use are plenty dangerous on their own without even considering how the medication itself might affect a fetus. For these reasons, we do not recommend that you take Lunesta or other sleeping pills while pregnant.
Do You Need Help with Sedative Abuse?
Are you or a loved one struggling with sedative abuse or addiction? If so, it is important to take it as seriously as any other addiction and seek out professional addiction treatment services as soon as possible. At Arete Recovery, we can help you to both get on the road to recovery and to stay on it.
At Arete, our experienced and compassionate staff members understand how hard fighting back against addiction can be, which is why our doctors, nurses, therapists, and case managers do whatever it takes to provide you with everything you need for a successful recovery.
Call us now at 855-781-9939 to speak to one of our admissions specialists or contact us online for more information.