Eyes Home > Alphagan P and Pregnancy

Animal studies on the active ingredient in Alphagan P (brimonidine tartrate) show that this drug is probably safe for use during pregnancy. When given to pregnant rabbits and rats, Alphagan P did not appear to cause any problems. As a result, it is considered a pregnancy Category B medicine, meaning it is considered relatively safe for use in pregnant women.

Can Pregnant Women Use Alphagan P?

Alphagan® P (brimonidine tartrate) is an eye medication approved for the treatment of high eye pressure and open-angle glaucoma. At this time, it appears that this medication is relatively safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown.
 
It is important to understand that even though Alphagan P is an eye drop, some of the medication reaches the bloodstream and could, therefore, affect a developing fetus.
 

What Is Pregnancy Category B?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category B is given to medicines that have not been adequately studied in pregnant humans, but do not appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
 
Also, medications that have been shown to be safe for use in pregnancy in humans (but have caused problems in laboratory animals) are also given a Category B rating.
 
In research studies, giving large doses of brimonidine (the active ingredient in Alphagan P) to pregnant rats and rabbits did not appear to cause any problems.
 
However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category B medicine should be given to a pregnant woman only if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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