Nicoderm CQ and Pregnancy
When high doses of nicotine (the active ingredient in Nicoderm CQ) were given to pregnant animals, it increased the risk for several problems in the offspring, including bone problems, breathing problems, and low blood pressure. Therefore, the FDA has given this drug a pregnancy Category D classification, meaning it is generally considered unsafe for women who are pregnant.
Nicoderm® CQ® (nicotine patch) is a nonprescription medication used to help people stop smoking. It helps reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms, including nicotine craving. Nicoderm CQ is a pregnancy Category D medicine, meaning it may cause harm to an unborn child.
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 specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. 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 the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to her unborn child.
When given to pregnant mice at high doses, nicotine (the active ingredient of Nicoderm CQ) increased the risk of bone problems in the offspring. In addition, high doses of nicotine caused fetal breathing problems when given to pregnant sheep and monkeys, as well as low blood pressure in the monkey offspring.
The negative consequences of smoking before, during, and after pregnancy are well established. Women who smoke while pregnant have a greater risk for miscarriage, preterm delivery, and having a baby with low birth weight. Smoking after giving birth has been associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Nicoderm CQ has not been studied in pregnant women; however, using Nicoderm CQ is considered safer than smoking during pregnancy. It is generally recommended that women first try to quit smoking without using a nicotine replacement medicine. Realistically, this may be very difficult to do. If you are finding it hard to quit smoking during pregnancy, your healthcare provider may recommend a medication like Nicoderm CQ to help you stop.