Blood Pressure Home > Levatol and Pregnancy
In clinical studies on Levatol (penbutolol) and pregnancy, the medication increased the risk of fetal death and newborn death when it was given to pregnant rabbits. However, it is not known whether the same risks apply to humans. If you become pregnant while taking this drug, your healthcare provider will weigh the benefits and potential risks before making a recommendation.
Levatol® (penbutolol sulfate) is a prescription beta blocker medication approved to treat high blood pressure. Based on the results of animal studies, Levatol may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks to humans are unknown at this time.
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.
When Levatol was given to pregnant rabbits, an increased the risk of fetal death and newborn death was seen. However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a woman if a healthcare provider believes that the benefits outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
With beta blockers in general, there have been reports of slowed intrauterine growth, small placentas, and birth defects related to the use of beta blockers during pregnancy. There have also been reports of a very low heart rate, low blood sugar, and/or decreased breathing in some newborns whose mothers took beta blockers just before or during childbirth.