A Consultant Family Physician at the Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Dr. John Ovuoraye, has asked pregnant women to stop taking malaria and cough medicines without doctor’s prescription, Punch Newspaper reports.
According to the physician, the use of malaria or cough medicine during pregnancy without the doctor’s prescription could lead to birth defects.
Dr. Ovuoraye noted that though the causes of women giving birth to babies with congenital defect could be many, some were as a result of medication taken during pregnancy, warning that not all orthodox medicines could be administered on a pregnant woman even if it was registered by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
The physician gave the warning during an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise while also cautioning expectant mothers against the risk of over-the-counter drugs in general.
He explained, “All drugs that are administered on people for one ailment or the other, some of them might not be safe for a pregnant woman. The doctor knows that those drugs can affect the development of the baby.”
“Even if a pregnant woman was taking a particular drug before she became pregnant, now that she is pregnant, she may not be able to take it again in order not to affect the development of the baby. So, pregnant women should only take drugs based on doctor’s prescription.”
“When a woman is pregnant, instead of going to the chemist or pharmacy to buy drugs on her own, she should take time off and visit the hospital and see a doctor who will prescribe for her the right drug that is safe for her in that stage of pregnancy even if it is a malaria drug. It is not all malaria drugs that you can take when you are pregnant.”
“But there are some that are safe during pregnancy. So, it is only a physician that will be able to guide you well.”
“So, a pregnant woman should not go and buy OTC drugs when she has malaria. That could have negative effect on the development of the baby because the person selling the drug to you is not well guided.”