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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Medications In Pregnancy

I tried to avoid taking anything when I was pregnant, but some women do need to take medications depending on their conditions. Here is a site which gives some good information about fetal development and medications. Click through on the link below to see which medications are considered safe in pregnancy, but ALWAYS check with your doctor and/or pharmacist first:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the following rating system in 1979 to categorize the potential risk to the fetus for a given drug.

Category A: Controlled human studies have demonstrated no fetal risk
Category B: Animal studies indicate no fetal risk, but no human studies
OR adverse effects in animals , but not in well- controlled human studies
Category C: No adequate human or animal studies,
OR adverse fetal effects in animal studies, but no available human data.
Category D: Evidence of fetal risk, but benefits outweigh risks.
Category X: Evidence of fetal risk. Risks outweigh any benefits.

Unfortunately this system oversimplifies the issues relevant to prescribing a medication to a pregnant patient. For example, the FDA system does not adequately address the risk of not treating a disease versus the risks of the medication, and there is a tendency to assume that a category B drug is safer for human use than a category C drug when there may be no human studies available to support the assumption. In addition the system is not easy to apply to combination prescription drugs with many active ingredients and the potential for drug interactions. Despite its shortcomings the FDA rating system (and others like it) will most likely continue to be used as a rapid "first screen" on the the potential risk to the fetus for a given drug.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baby Names Influenced By Popular Culture

As a college instructor for the last 11 years, I have seen a wave of names come and go. I can almost predict the age of my students just from their registration information which does not include their date of birth. Here is a video about how baby names are influenced by popular culture.

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