Congestive Heart Failure Home > Digoxin and Pregnancy

The manufacturer of digoxin (Lanoxin) recommends that the drug only be given to pregnant women if it is clearly needed. Although digoxin does cross the placenta, the drug has not been adequately studied to determine whether it could cause harm in a developing fetus. However, this medication has been given to many pregnant women to treat their heart problems without causing fetal harm.

Can Pregnant Women Take Digoxin?

Digoxin (Lanoxin®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of heart failure and a certain type of abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. At this time, it is unknown whether digoxin is safe for use during pregnancy.

What Is Pregnancy Category C?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a 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 adequately studied in pregnant humans but did appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
In addition, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.

What Are the Risks?

Digoxin crosses the placenta when taken during pregnancy. However, it is not known if the medication causes harm to a developing fetus, as it has not been adequately studied in pregnant women or animals.
Digoxin has been used to treat fetal arrhythmias, by giving the medication to the mother, without reports of fetal harm. Additionally, many women have used the medication throughout pregnancy to treat their heart failure or arrhythmias without causing fetal harm.
However, the manufacturer of the medication recommends that pregnant women use digoxin only if clearly needed. Digoxin may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn child.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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