Animal studies on timolol show that it might not be safe to take during pregnancy. When given to rabbits and mice, the drug appeared to increase the risk of miscarriages. Also, beta blockers may slow down intrauterine growth, cause small placentas, and increase the risk of birth defects, among other problems. If you are using timolol and pregnancy occurs, notify your healthcare provider.
Should You Use Timolol While Pregnant?
Timolol (Betimol®, Blocadren®, Istalol®, Timoptic®) is a prescription beta blocker medication approved for a variety of different uses. Based on the results of animal studies, timolol might not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown.
Timolol and 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 studied in pregnant humans but that do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
When given to pregnant rabbits and mice, timolol appeared to increase the risk of miscarriages, but it did not appear to cause any birth defects.
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 C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
With beta blockers in general, there have been reports of slowed intrauterine growth, small placentas, and birth defects related to the use of beta blockers during pregnancy. There have also been reports of a very low heart rate, low blood sugar levels, and/or decreased breathing in some newborns when beta blockers were used during childbirth.
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