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It’s unclear whether doxepin and pregnancy can safely mix; there are no adequate human studies to prove this drug safe in human use. However, non-human animal studies, in which researchers gave pregnant subjects more than the normal human dose, found adverse effects on the developing fetus. 

Pregnant individuals should only take doxepin if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Its pregnancy rating by the FDA is “C,” which indicates the drug may have harmful effects. 

It is important to note that it is possible that a newborn might have withdrawal following a pregnancy of tricyclic depressant use.

Doxepin and Breastfeeding

Doxepin can be excreted through breast milk. As a result, a nursing infant may experience extreme sleepiness, apnea, vomiting, and poor feeding, especially if the nursing parent is taking a higher dose typically used for depression treatment. 

FAQ

What is safe to take for sleep while pregnant?

It’s unclear if taking doxepin is safe during pregnancy, as there is not enough research on taking this drug during human pregnancies. However, non-human animal testing shows that this drug can affect fetus development—if given in higher doses. As such, the FDA advises that this medication should be avoided during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks and there is no safer option available. 

What psychiatric medications are safe during pregnancy?

Only a medical professional can say what is safe or not for each patient’s pregnancy. Unfortunately, it’s a difficult choice to make because many psychiatric medications remain untested for this use. In most cases, it’s best to avoid tricyclic antidepressants during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the potential harm.

What pregnancy category is doxepin?

The Food and Drug Administration has a pregnancy rating system to provide some guidance on taking medications during pregnancy. This alphabetic system goes from A to D and includes X for drugs completely contraindicated during pregnancy. An “A” rating is very unusual. It indicates controlled studies show no harm during pregnancy. Some medications provided during pregnancy have a “B” rating, indicating that there is no evidence of risk to humans during pregnancy. 

Drugs with a “B” pregnancy rating from the FDA include:

  • Buspirone (Buspar) – Sedative, Anxiolytic
  • Zolpidem (Ambien) – Sedative
  • Maprotiline (Ludiomil) – Antidepressant
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin) – Antidepressant
  • Clozapine (Clozaril) – Antipsychotic

Pregnant individuals should discuss medications they take with their medical providers.

What happens if you take too much doxepin?

It is possible to overdose on doxepin. Someone who takes too much of this drug may have slowed breathing, drowsiness/sedation, trouble urinating, and blurred vision.

An overdose of doxepin can be fatal because it may interfere with heartbeat, blood pressure, and breathing. It can lead to shock, as well. If an overdose occurs, do not initiate vomiting. Instead, call a poison control center or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Is doxepin safe during pregnancy?

Doxepin has an FDA pregnancy rating of “C,” meaning it might harm a developing fetus, although there are no human studies to prove this concept. There is some indication that a baby born to someone taking a tricyclic antidepressant like doxepin may go through withdrawal after birth. 

Are there any antidepressants safe during breastfeeding?

It’s important that patients talk to their healthcare provider about medications to take while breastfeeding. In general, antidepressants tend to be safe to take while breastfeeding if the treatment is clinically necessary. Data on tricyclic antidepressants is encouraging, even though some amounts of these drugs are in breastmilk. The exposure is typically low, though, and complications are rare. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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