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Eloxatin and Pregnancy

There is a risk that Eloxatin (oxaliplatin) could harm an unborn child if the mother receives this drug during pregnancy. Eloxatin has been shown to increase the risk for miscarriage and impaired fetal growth when even low doses of the medication were given to pregnant rats. Therefore, women should only receive this drug during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Can Pregnant Women Receive Eloxatin?

Eloxatin® (oxaliplatin) is a prescription anticancer medication used to treat cancer of the bowel (colon or rectal cancer). It is used in combination with other anticancer medications. Based on the way the medicine works, and its effects in animal studies, Eloxatin is not considered safe for use during pregnancy.

What Is Pregnancy Category D?

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. Eloxatin is classified as a pregnancy Category D drug.
Pregnancy Category D is a classification given to medicines that have been shown to present a risk to the fetus in studies of pregnant women, but may still offer benefits that outweigh the risks the drug presents. A pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to her unborn child.
This medication has not been adequately studied in pregnant women. However, when given to pregnant rats in animal studies, Eloxatin increased the risk for miscarriage and impaired fetal growth. These effects were observed even at low doses.
Eloxatin works by binding together strands of DNA in both cancer and normal cells, and preventing the cells from multiplying. While this action is beneficial for stopping the growth of cancer cells, it can be harmful to the development of a fetus.
Because of the potential for fetal harm, Eloxatin is generally not recommended for use in pregnant women. However, because bowel cancer is quite serious, there may be times when a healthcare provider may advise a pregnant woman to undergo chemotherapy with Eloxatin, despite the potential risks.
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