The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is replacing its previous A-X system of rating the risk of prescription drugs to pregnant and breastfeeding women with more information. Considering that women often take three to five medications during pregnancy and that many of them juggle chronic disease, such as asthma and diabetes, these changes are important.
Now women and their healthcare providers will know which drugs can enter breast milk and how they might affect infants. The labels will also provide warnings to women and their partners about which drugs cause infertility or present risks during pregnancy. Further, women will be encouraged to enroll in drug registries, which will collect and analyze data on medication effects during pregnancy.
The new labeling law goes into effect in June for new drugs. Existing drugs have several years to make the changes.