Proair HFA and Pregnancy
In previous animal studies involving Proair HFA and pregnancy, the medicine caused problems to the fetus when given to pregnant mice and rabbits. Also, in pregnant women, Proair HFA can increase the heart rate and blood sugar levels of the fetus. Despite these possible risks, healthcare providers may still prescribe Proair HFA during pregnancy if its benefits outweigh the risks to the unborn child.
Proair HFA® (albuterol inhaler) may not be safe for women who are pregnant. In previous animal studies that looked at the effects of albuterol during pregnancy, the drug caused birth defects.
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 C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but 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.
Proair HFA was given a pregnancy Category C rating because of the potential problems seen during animal studies. When given to pregnant mice, Proair HFA caused birth defects, especially a cleft palate. When given to pregnant rabbits, Proair HFA caused brain and skull problems. In pregnant women, Proair HFA can increase the heart rate and blood sugar levels of the fetus.
However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. A pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that its benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn child. Because "rescue" medications like Proair HFA are usually essential for people with asthma, healthcare providers typically recommend that pregnant women continue to take Proair HFA. Several references state that Proair HFA is compatible with pregnancy. In fact, albuterol, the active ingredient in Proair HFA, is sometimes used to treat premature labor, usually without causing any problems in the fetus.