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Halcion & Pregnancy: Is It Safe to Take During Pregnancy?

Overall, Halcion is not generally considered to be safe to take while pregnant. A doctor is unlikely to prescribe it if you are pregnant. You should talk to your doctor right away if you become pregnant and are currently on Halcion (or any other medication).

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What Are the Risks Associated With Taking Halcion While Pregnant?

The following are some of the main risks associated with Halcion. However, the drug has not been well researched in how it may affect a pregnant user and the fetus they’re carrying, so it’s possible that the risks for pregnant individuals extend beyond those listed here.

Direct Exposure to Fetus

Animal trials have suggested a fetus can be exposed to triazolam, the generic name for the drug sold under the name Halcion, if the drug is taken by the mother carrying it. This is generally the primary concern when discussing whether a drug is safe for a pregnant woman to take. A fetus, especially in the first trimester, can be very sensitive to substances that are comparatively safe for an adult human to take. 

Drug Dependence in Baby

Taking triazolam while pregnant may make a baby develop drug dependence, which can cause a newborn to have withdrawal symptoms once born. This can lead to poor muscle tone and trouble feeding. While this is a serious issue that needs to be carefully monitored, these symptoms are treatable and temporary. 

Many Unknowns

One of the biggest concerns regarding taking Halcion while pregnant is that medical researchers simply don’t know what it may or may not do to a fetus. Various benzodiazepines have been linked to serious fetal risks, such as diazepam and chlordiazepoxide potentially increasing the risk of congenital malformations, but triazolam’s effects on pregnancy and birth are still poorly understood. 

For example, it isn’t known if it may increase the risk of miscarriage or cause future behavior and learning issues. Because the drug is generally used to treat insomnia, meaning it doesn’t serve a critical health function even if sleep quality can still affect a person’s quality of life, current evidence combined with the present unknowns mean it shouldn’t be used by pregnant people.

Safe Alternatives to Consider

Sleep issues are common among pregnant women, which is partially why many rightfully wonder if Halcion may help them sleep. While Halcion isn’t a good option, there are some safe alternatives that could potentially help, many of which you can combine as best suits your needs.

First, try adjusting your sleep position. Pregnant women usually feel most comfortable sleeping on their side with bent knees. While either side is likely fine, doctors usually recommend sleeping on the left side, which can help protect organs and encourage blood flow to several important parts of the body, including the uterus. 

If you have trouble getting comfortable while sleeping, there are also special pillows and padding you can get to make sleeping easier. You can also try simple tricks like rolling up a blanket and putting it on the small of your back to relieve pressure, so you don’t have to make any additional purchases.

Second, consider if your diet may be a factor, as pregnancy slows down the digestive system, causing more frequent issues relating to constipation, indigestion, and heartburn. There is also more pressure on the bladder during pregnancy, which can make urination more frequent. While there are various dietary strategies that may help, it’s usually recommended that you at least avoid eating three to four hours before bedtime, and avoid drinking within two hours of bedtime. 

One thing to avoid is most sleep aid medications. Sleep aids aren’t usually well researched in how they might affect a pregnant woman and the fetus, though there are some medications that may be considered safer during pregnancy. At the very least, don’t use a sleep aid without first talking to a doctor.

Updated May 8, 2023
Resources
  1. Benzodiazepines. (November 2022). StatPearls.
  2. HALCION® Triazolam Tablets, USP CIV. (September 2014). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  3. How to Sleep Better While Pregnant. (September 2022). Sleep Foundation.
  4. Triazolam. (May 2021). National Library of Medicine.
  5. Triazolam (Halcion®). (February 2021). Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS).
  6. Insomnia and Sleep Deficiency in Pregnancy. (September 2015). Obstetric Medicine.
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