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Is dicyclomine safe to take during pregnancy?
Q: I am seven weeks pregnant and have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I go through a constipation stage then I get diarrhea. I take dicyclomine for my symptoms. Is the medicine going to harm my baby?
Melodie Jefferson City
A: I would advise against the use of dicyclomine during pregnancy. It has not been shown to cause problems for the unborn child, but this doesn’t mean it’s safe. Rather, it means nobody has studied it to determine if it’s safe. The Physician’s Desk Reference tells us that it should only be used when it is medically necessary. In this case, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is not a life-threatening condition.

While constipation is common during pregnancy, I have found that pregnancy tends to ease other intestinal ailments, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So patiently observe how your body responds to pregnancy. If constipation seems to predominate, consider changing your prenatal vitamin to one with a stool softener. If diarrhea predominates, you can treat it with Kaopectate® only when it becomes incredibly annoying and persistent.

Finally, if you plan to nurse, don’t take dicylomine, as it has unpleasant effects for the newborn.

Craig L. Bissinger M.D.