Generic Name: Methyldopa
Indications: Reduce blood pressure.
FDA Drug Category: B
Summary Recommendations: Methyldopa is a blood pressure medication used to treat or prevent hypertension. The medication works by relaxing the blood vessels of the body so the heart does not have to work as hard.
Another name for methyldopa is Aldomet.
General Precautions: Hypertension is potentially dangerous during pregnancy. If you have hypertension and you’re taking methyldopa to treat the condition, do not stop taking the medication if you find out you’re pregnant. Contact the prescribing physician for more information on how your pregnancy will affect your hypertension.
Methyldopa can have side effects if you have liver disease, kidney disease or heart disease. If you or a family member has a history of heart problems, including heart attack or stroke, tell your doctor before starting the medication. Methyldopa should not be taken with MAOI inhibitors, including furazolidone, phenelzine and selegiline.
Effect While Trying to Conceive: Methyldopa may increase your body’s natural prolactin levels. Prolactin can affect fertility by altering menstrual cycles in women and reducing sex drive in men. Women have reported difficulty getting pregnant.
High blood pressure can reduce fertility and increase risk of other illnesses so it is not safe to stop using methyldopa without the consent and instruction of your physician.
Effects on Pregnancy: Several studies have been completed on methyldopa use during pregnancy. According to reports, risk of pregnancy complications or infant birth defects does not increase with methyldopa use. Methyldopa has been around for a long time, which lends an extensive use history to the drug profile. Many doctors prefer to use an older drug with a long history of safety over a newer drug with no real history to speak of.
Safe During Breastfeeding: Methyldopa is not associated with any negative side effects when taken by women who are breastfeeding. However, the increase in prolactin associated with the drug can cause an unexpected increase in milk production. If you suffer this side effect and wish to reduce milk production, talk with your doctor about other medication options.