Can Pregnant Women Take Deplin?
is a vitamin used under the supervision of a healthcare provider to manage low folate levels in people with depression
or high homocysteine levels in people with schizophrenia
. Based on the results of animal studies, this medication is probably safe for use in pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown.
What Does the Research Say?
No research has been done to see if Deplin is safe for use during pregnancy. 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. However, Deplin is a medical food. Medical foods do not require FDA approval, and are not assigned a pregnancy category.
Deplin contains L-methylfolate
, the active form of folic acid
. Folic acid is a synthetic vitamin, which is converted into folate in the body, and ultimately into L-methylfolate. Folate is the natural form of folic acid. When you consume folate in foods, the body breaks down the folate into L-methylfolate.
Folate is passed to the developing fetus during pregnancy. In fact, folic acid levels in the newborn are higher than those found in the mother. This normally is not a problem.
As with most vitamins, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of folate is higher for pregnant women than for most other women of childbearing age. A deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy can cause birth defects, including neural tube defects (brain and spinal cord defects).
Deplin contains L-methylfolate in amounts that are equivalent to very high folic acid doses -- doses that are much higher than even the recommended amounts of folic acid for pregnant women. Even though folic acid is considered safe for use in pregnancy, Deplin has not been studied in pregnant women. Therefore, there is not enough information to say with certainty that Deplin is safe for women who are expecting.
It is important to keep in mind that depression can be harmful to both the developing baby and the mother during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and believe you may be depressed, talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options.