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Demulen and Pregnancy

The FDA has classified Demulen as a pregnancy Category X medication, meaning it should not be used during pregnancy because it could cause serious problems (such as miscarriages or birth defects). If you discover you are pregnant, immediately stop using the pill. However, if you accidentally used it for a while before realizing you were pregnant, it probably won't cause any serious problems.

Can Pregnant Women Take Demulen?

Demulen® (ethynodiol diacetate/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription oral contraceptive -- one of the many available versions of "the pill." It is available in two different strengths -- Demulen 1/35 and Demulen 1/50. As with any birth control pill, it is not a good idea to intentionally take Demulen during pregnancy. Although you are unlikely to become pregnant if you take the drug correctly, your risk of pregnancy increases significantly if you do not take it correctly.
(Brand-name Demulen is no longer available in the United States, as it was discontinued by its manufacturer. However, generic versions, sold under the names Zovia® and Kelnor™, are still available. If your healthcare provider writes you a prescription for Demulen, your pharmacist will automatically substitute one of the generic versions.)

What Is Pregnancy Category X?

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 X is given to medications that should not be used during pregnancy, usually due to the serious problems that could occur, such as birth defects or miscarriages. A pregnancy Category X rating is the strongest indication that a medication should not be taken during pregnancy.
If you miss your period while taking this birth control pill, you may want to make sure you are not pregnant (an over-the-counter pregnancy test should be sufficient), especially if you have missed any of the pills. If you miss two periods in a row, you should definitely make sure you are not pregnant. Keep in mind that if you take Demulen correctly (without missing any pills), the risk of pregnancy while taking it is quite low.
Although you may have heard that taking birth control pills during early pregnancy is dangerous, the truth is that doing so is not likely to cause any serious problems. Many studies have shown that there is no increased risk of birth defects when birth control pills are accidentally taken during early pregnancy. However, Demulen should never intentionally be taken during pregnancy, as there are no benefits to doing so. It should not be used in an attempt to prevent or cause a miscarriage, as it is not effective for such uses.

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‣ Final Thoughts on Pregnancy and Demulen
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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