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Answers from our Priests for Life Medical Team

Submitted by: A on  10/6/2010
Answered by: Matthew P. Harrison, M.D.
Topic: Category C Drug in Pregnancy
I work in a Catholic hospital as a R.N. The Ob. Gyn doctor ordered a PPD for a 5 month pregnant patient who is a heroin/cocaine user. Since PPD is in Catergory C, I was concerned that it would hurt the fetus. The doctor told me that the benefits outweighed the danger for the fetus. Please tell me your opinion. Thank you.

I am so happy to see you fighting for the health of the babies in your care.  The use of the PPD in the pregnant mother who is at high risk for tuberculosis can help detect the infection and treat it, therefore helping the child.  I would agree that the small risk of the category C drug injected under the skin of the mother hurting the baby is outweighed by the benefit of the information it would provide.  As you may know Category C drugs are those that are of uncertain safety becasue no human or animal studies have been done. The safest drugs are Category A and the most dangerous are Category X.  In this case, the physician has probably done what is best for the mother and the baby.  Thanks

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