Drugs Home > Talwin and Pregnancy
In animal studies, Talwin (pentazocine) increased the risk for various birth defects. This drug may also cause premature birth, low birth weight, and other complications. If you use this drug regularly during pregnancy, Talwin could potentially cause narcotic withdrawal in your infant after delivery, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, trembling, and high-pitched crying.
Talwin® (pentazocine lactate) is a prescription narcotic medication used in the treatment of moderate-to-severe pain, or before surgery or anesthesia. Talwin may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Talwin is classified as a pregnancy Category C medicine.
Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Talwin increased the risk for birth defects when given in high doses to pregnant hamsters as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin). The highest doses of the drug caused death in some of the mother hamsters. However, Talwin has not been shown to cause birth defects in other animal studies.
Like other narcotic medications, the chronic use of Talwin during pregnancy could cause dependence in an unborn baby. There have been reports of withdrawal symptoms occurring in newborns whose mothers took this drug regularly while pregnant. Some of these withdrawal symptoms have included:
- High-pitched crying
Talwin abuse during pregnancy has been associated with additional problems as well, including premature birth, low birth weight, and reduced infant head size. In many of the cases, women who abused the drug when pregnant also used other drugs, smoked cigarettes, or drank alcohol. Therefore, it is difficult to know whether the problems observed were caused by Talwin, the other substances, or a combination of these factors.
A pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn child. Therefore, a healthcare provider may recommend Talwin during pregnancy if safer medications are not an option. If you take this drug when pregnant, your baby may need to be monitored more closely after birth.
It should also be noted that Talwin is sometimes used to treat pain during labor. When used in this way, the drug appears to be as safe as other strong pain relievers that are commonly used during labor and delivery.