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Relenza and Pregnancy

In animal studies on Relenza (zanamivir) and pregnancy, the flu medication increased the risk of minor skeletal birth defects when it was given in high doses to pregnant animals. However, the drug has not been studied in pregnant humans, so it is not known if it is safe for use during pregnancy. If you are taking Relenza and pregnancy occurs, let your healthcare provider know right away.

Is Relenza Safe During Pregnancy?

Relenza® (zanamivir) is a prescription medication that is used to prevent and treat the flu. Unlike other flu medicines, Relenza is inhaled. Animal studies have suggested that Relenza may not be safe for use during pregnancy.
For pregnant women, the flu vaccine, rather than medications like Relenza, is the recommended way to prevent the flu. Currently, it is recommended that all women who are pregnant (or who plan on becoming pregnant) during flu season should get the influenza vaccine.

Relenza 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.
Relenza has never been studied in pregnant humans. When high doses of the drug were given to pregnant animals, it generally did not cause serious problems. However, one study showed that Relenza increased the risk of minor skeletal birth defects.

Relenza and Pregnancy: Final Thoughts

If you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant while taking Relenza, let your healthcare provider know. He or she will consider both the benefits and risks of using the drug during pregnancy before making a recommendation in your particular situation.
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