Information on the safety of trazodone in pregnancy is limited because not enough studies into the topic are available. Animal research suggests the drug may be linked with an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects, but studies on small human samples indicate it may be safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Doctors and patients can discuss the risks and benefits of the medication to determine if it would be a good choice for a pregnant or breastfeeding mother. If the benefits outweigh the known risks, the doctor may recommend moving forward with treatment.
This antidepressant medication is typically prescribed to treat insomnia. It takes several days to fully clear from the body, and is expressed in small quantities in breast milk. Research on human populations is limited to small studies of patients who were willing to take the drug despite the lack of information on its safety. These studies indicate that the risk of miscarriage or birth defects does not appear to be higher for patients taking trazodone in pregnancy than it does for the general population.
Pregnancy studies are, by nature, limited, and it is possible that a larger sample of pregnant women might show dangerous side effects. Patients who choose to take trazodone in pregnancy may want to consider reporting any adverse events. Regulatory authorities maintain side effects databases, and a patient's doctor can submit information for future evaluation and reference. The Food and Drug Administration in the United States classified trazodone as a category C drug as of 2011, which means that animal studies show some potential risks, and not enough information is available on human populations.
Babies born to mothers who took trazodone in pregnancy do not appear to experience developmental delays, neurological problems, or other issues that might be associated with the drug. The secretion of the drug in breast milk is a potential cause for concern. A pediatrician can discuss the risks with the patient and help her decide how she wants to handle use of the medication while breastfeeding. The recommendation may simply be to monitor the baby for signs of adverse effects so an intervention can be provided if necessary.
Every patient is slightly different. Patients concerned about taking trazodone in pregnancy can discuss the medication with their obstetricians and other care providers, to determine if there are any special risks in their cases that might be causes for extra concern. In the event a doctor feels the medication is not safe, there may be some alternatives available to help the patient manage insomnia and depression.