Scrutinize Your Scripts Girl: 15 Prescription Drugs That Don't Mix With TTC

What Prescription Drugs Cause Infertility?

Your health comes first. Period. And that means if you're already going the Rx route then please continue to do so until further discussing alternatives with your doctor. As much as we're fans of ancient Eastern medicine and the fertility remedies of our Great-Great Grandmothers (they always had like a million babies, right?) we know a modern lady does what a modern lady gotta do. We encourage you to communicate (erm, over-communicate) with your doctor to make sure drugs are prescribed only if necessary, and also not to assume that "Category B" drugs that are "safe" to take during pregnancy are safe to take while trying to conceive.

We've made a list to break down the top 15 scripts to scrutinize while TTC and why:

  • Antibiotics. Kind of a catch 22, because while antibiotics can clear up infections that can cause infertility they also stimulate the growth of vaginal yeast, which in turn makes your cervical mucus hostile to sperm. If you need to take an antibiotic, load up on your probiotics. Mo personally likes and takes Klaire Labs probiotic supplement. Find it here.
  • Antidepressants. While some compromise hormones and or libido, others can suppress ovulation by increasing the hormone prolactin. It's important to discuss a best plan for you while trying to conceive.
  • Anti-malarial drugs like Plaquenil. Also used to treat Lupus. Not enough studies have been done to prove fertility-safe.
  • Blood Pressure Medications (ACE inhibitors). Again that pesky prolactin, which can suppress ovulation.
  • Blood Thinner Warfarin (Coumadin). Can cause miscarriage, birth defects, premature delivery or even infant death. We generally conclude that anything harmful to pregnancy is harmful to conception as well.
In some cases you may be prescribed an injectable blood thinner such as Lovenox which is fine to use during pregnancy as needed. I myself had a genetic mutation where I needed to use these during my pregnancy and post-partum.
— Jeiran
  • Long-term use of Corticosteroids (Cortisone and Prednisone.) Corticosteroids are closely related to the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal gland. Inhaling, injecting, taking orally, or as a cream for any extended period of time could throw off menstrual cycles and ovulation. Again, In some cases you may be prescribed a corticosteroid for a week or less during IVF. 
  • Diuretics. They may rid you of yesterday's ceviche that didn't quite agree with you, but they also cause dehydration, drying up cervical mucus and sperm volume in men.
  • Epilepsy Drugs. Carbamazepine and Valproate lead to lower sperm count. Dilantin decreases follicle-stimulating-hormones. All three drugs decrease testosterone in men and suppress luteinizing hormones and estrogen in women.
  • Isotretinoin for Acne (Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, and Sotret) and other drugs containing retinol, including topical tretinoin (Retin-A). Yes, that's the retinol wrinkle fighters as well. Potentially harmful in pregnancy, best to be avoided while trying to conceive.
  • Migraine Medications like Imitrex, Propranolol, Ergots, and Triptans.  None of these are suggested to take during pregnancy (risk of miscarriage), and Ergots can restrict blood flow to the uterus, hampering implantation.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as Naprosyn, Bextra, and Celebrex. Excessive inflammation is not favorable to fertility, but neither is this family of drugs and other COX-2 inhibitors, which block prostaglandins necessary for ovulation. They also make the lining of your uterus hostile for implantation. Taking NSAIDS during ovulation may impede your fallopian tubes from doing their job properly and guiding down the egg. 
  • Painkillers. They can block prostaglandin release and delay ovulation, kill libido and cause ejaculatory dysfunction. It's the ultimate trifecta.
  • Tetracycline (for acne or infections). This one is important for your dude. Major sperm killer.
  • Ulcer Medications for Peptic Ulcers (Cimetidine). Reduces sperm count in men and causes increased prolactin in men and women. Ovulation can cease completely as a result.
  • Valproic Acid. Most commonly used to treat epilepsy, but also prescribed for depression and bi-polar disorder. Potential birth defects if taking while pregnant. As for men? A flood of medical studies have gone underway as the link between male infertility and valproic acid has come into question. Findings are not concrete, but varied enough to raise concern.*



(No conflicts of interest present in the above sources)