Cancer Home > Zanosar and Pregnancy

Women who receive Zanosar (streptozocin) during pregnancy should be aware that this drug may be harmful to an unborn child. Although this drug has not been adequately studied in pregnant women, it has been shown to increase the risk for miscarriage and birth defects during animal studies. However, there may be situations where the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the fetus.

Can Pregnant Women Use Zanosar?

Zanosar® (streptozocin) is a prescription chemotherapy medication. It is considered a pregnancy Category D medicine, which means it may cause harm to an unborn child if used by a pregnant woman.

What Is Pregnancy Category D?

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 D is a classification given to medicines that have been shown to present a risk to the fetus in studies of pregnant women but may still offer benefits that outweigh the risks the drug presents. A pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to her unborn child.
Zanosar was shown to cause problems in animal studies. More specifically, it caused birth defects when given to pregnant rats and miscarriages when given to pregnant rabbits. When given intravenously to pregnant monkeys, the medicine rapidly passed to the bloodstream of the monkey fetuses.
Zanosar has not been adequately studied in pregnant women. There is one reported case of a woman receiving the medicine in the third trimester of pregnancy without any apparent harm to the fetus. However, this is too little information to say for certain the medicine is safe for use in pregnancy.
In general, Zanosar should only be used in pregnant women if the potential benefit to the woman outweighs the potential risks to the developing baby. This may be the case when safer treatment options do not exist to treat the woman's cancer.
Women of childbearing potential should use a reliable form of birth control to avoid becoming pregnant during Zanosar treatment. You can speak with your healthcare provider about the best birth control options for your particular situation.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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