This carries on from my last blog that focussed on medication and fertility with regards to over the counter medication. Today I’m talking about particular prescribed medication and how this may alter your ability to conceive. Many prescribed medications may have some effect on fertility and many of them the affect may be unknown, however here are the more commonly prescribed medications.
Medication and Fertility: what you need to know
This blog is intended for information on medication and fertility only and on no account should you stop any medication without discussing it with your doctor or specialist first. If you suffer from a chronic illness it is so important that you take the medication you need to treat your condition, however it is equally important that you have an understanding of the side effects. This information will then help you to have an informed discussion with your doctor on the side effects of your medication and how they impact on your fertility.
Steroid medication (tablet)
The prescribing of oral steroids, such as Prednislone or Cortisone is relatively common and are often prescribed for illness such as arthritis, skin conditions or lupus. If taken long term they can delay ovulation and may cause irregular bleeding. It is however common for some fertility clinics to use a short term course of steroids during IVF and this does not pose a problem.
Certain antidepressants and in particular those termed SSRI’s used to treat depression and anxiety can have an affect on fertility. They can reduce libido, dry up cervical secretions and cause disturbances with ovulation and the menstrual cycle. It is VERY important that you don’t stop taking this medication but take the opportunity to speak to your doctor for advice.
Some epilepsy medication termed antispasmodics can affect your fertility by decreasing cervical secretions and may cause folic acid deficiency. Folic acid is a really important supplement to take when trying to conceive and in early pregnancy and therefore discuss with your doctor the need for additional supplementation. DO NOT discontinue this medication.
Antimalarial medication is vital important if you are travelling to particular countries on holiday to prevent against contracting what can be the life threatening condition malaria. Some antimalarial medication is contraindicated in pregnancy and therefore If you’re due to travel to a place where malaria is present, you should delay trying for a baby while you’re taking anti-malaria medication. You may also need to take an increased supplement of folic acid. Seek advice from your doctor before booking your holiday!
Whilst there is no know evidence that antibiotics affect fertility, some are not recommended to be taken during early pregnancy. If you find out you are pregnant while taking antibiotics tell your doctor straight away, so if necessary you can be switched to an antibiotic that is safe for use in pregnancy.
Methotrexate medication is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate can affect fertility and is likely to be harmful to the baby if taken during pregnancy. However, you can still have a successful pregnancy if you stop taking methotrexate in plenty of time before trying for a baby. Both men and women using this drug should take contraceptive precautions as it can also affect sperm and thus affect any fertilised egg. After stopping methotrexate you should continue using contraception for at least 3 months, and some doctors advise up to 6 months. You should talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you’re planning a family, or if you become pregnant while taking methotrexate.
Strong tablet form acne medication such as Isotretinoin medication can dry up cervical secretions and carries a high risk of birth defects. It is recommended that you do not try for a baby whilst using this medication and that you take contraceptive precautions during treatment.
AS A REMINDER – THIS BLOG IS FOR INFORMATION ON MEDICATION AND FERTILITY ONLY AND IT IS VITAL THAT YOU DO NOT STOP TAKING ANY MEDICATION UNTIL YOU HAVE TAKEN ADVICE FROM YOUR DOCTOR.