A Practical Guide to Dermatological Drug Use in Pregnancy



Skin Therapy Letter. 2006;11(4):1-4. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Although the developing fetus was once considered protected from the outside world, we now know that it can potentially be affected by any medication given to the mother. Despite this knowledge, use of medications during pregnancy is common and pregnant women often present for treatment of dermatological disease. Therapeutic options available for these patients will be discussed.


Two drugs given in the middle of the 20th century to pregnant women changed the attitude of physicians about the use of medications during this period. Diethylstilbestrol and thalidomide use in early pregnancy led to disastrous consequences for the exposed offspring, consequences that were not causally linked for years. These events led to the development of the US FDA Pregnancy Categories ( Table 1 ) that are now assigned before a drug is released.

Despite awareness that any medication taken during pregnancy can potentially affect the fetus, a recent multinational survey indicated that 86% of women took an average of 2.9 medications during pregnancy.[1] This article will review options for the treatment of a variety of common dermatological disorders during pregnancy ( Table 2 ).


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.