Blood Pressure Home > Exforge and Pregnancy

Exforge is generally considered unsafe for use during pregnancy. In clinical studies on Exforge and pregnancy, the drug appeared to cause deformities of the head and face, developmental problems with the nervous system, and kidney failure in fetuses when it was given to pregnant animals. Due to these possible complications, if you are taking Exforge and pregnancy occurs, notify your healthcare provider immediately.

An Overview of Exforge and Pregnancy

Exforge® (amlodipine and valsartan) is a prescription blood pressure medication. It is a combination medication, containing amlodipine (Norvasc®) and valsartan (Diovan®). Exforge is generally considered unsafe for use during pregnancy, mostly due to the valsartan component of the medication. Valsartan belongs to a group of medications known as angiotensin II receptors blocker (also known as ARBs).

What Is the Risk of Using Exforge During Pregnancy?

Prior to 2006, there was a common belief among healthcare providers regarding the use of ARBs and ACE inhibitors (which are similar to ARBs) during pregnancy. The feeling was that problems with ARBs and ACE inhibitors were generally seen when the drugs were taken during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. However, that changed when a study by researchers at Vanderbilt University was published in the June 2006 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
This study showed that there may, in fact, also be an increased risk to the fetus if it is exposed to ACE inhibitors during the first trimester. Whether the risk to the fetus is as great in the first trimester as in the second or third trimesters is not known. Because of the similarities between ARBs and ACE inhibitors, it is assumed that ARBs will cause the same problems during pregnancy.
A few of the complications sometimes seen in fetuses or newborns exposed to ARBs or ACE inhibitors during pregnancy include:
  • Extremely low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Developmental problems with the nervous system
  • Developmental problems with the cardiovascular system (this includes the heart and blood vessels)
  • Developmental problems with the lungs
  • Kidney failure
  • Deformities of the head and face
  • Loss of life.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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