Primaquine and Pregnancy
Because it is an older medication, there is not an official pregnancy category classification for primaquine. However, many sources consider it a pregnancy Category C drug, meaning it may not be safe for a pregnant woman to take this medication. It might be possible for primaquine to cause serious anemia and other blood cell problems in both the mother and the fetus.
Can Pregnant Women Take Primaquine?Primaquine phosphate is a prescription medication used to treat malaria infections. Specifically, it is licensed to completely clear certain types of malaria infections from the liver to prevent malaria relapses. It is unknown whether it is safe for pregnant women to take this medication.
What Is Pregnancy Category C?The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. 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.
Medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Like many older medications, primaquine does not technically have an official pregnancy category classification. However, many sources would consider it a pregnancy Category C medication.
There is very little information available about primaquine use in pregnancy. Primaquine has not been adequately studied in pregnant animals or women. Because it has the potential to cause serious anemia and other blood cell problems, the concern exists that it may also cause these problems in the developing fetus.
It should be noted that a malaria infection is particularly dangerous in pregnant women and can even cause life-threatening complications. Malaria may also increase the risk for miscarriage, premature labor, or other problems in the newborn infant. Therefore, it is very important to treat a pregnant woman who has malaria. In addition, a woman who may become pregnant should receive medication to help prevent malaria infections when traveling to a malaria area.
In general, it is recommended that primaquine not be used during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman needs treatment for malaria, another malaria medication, such as chloroquine (Aralen®), may be used to suppress the malaria infection during pregnancy. Primaquine treatment can then be started after delivery.