Q: Dear Dr Ketch, is it safe to take Fansidar in pregnancy? My pregnancy is 4 months old and I was given Fansidar in the hospital. Is it safe to take this?
A: Thanks for writing in.
Fansidar is a specific brand of the drug Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP). It is used for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy. Its use for this is referred to as Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in pregnancy (IPTp-SP).
Is it safe in pregnancy? Yes and no. In the first trimester, it is not recommended for use but from the second trimester, it is considered the appropriate and indeed is recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) for administration to pregnant women. The assumed rule before was for pregnant women to receive 2 doses of this drug (full dose of 3 tablets) but WHO has since clarified that the appropriate regimen is for women to receive the full dose of Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine from week 13 of pregnancy. She should get a full dose at every antenatal visit provided the last dose was taken at least one month before. There is evidence that women who received 3 or more doses of IPTp had children with higher average birth weights than those who got 2 doses.
Your doctor will ensure that the Folic Acid dose you’re getting in your prenatal drugs is not more than 0.4mg. Doses of Folic Acid higher than or equal to 5mg affects the efficacy of the anti-malarial, SP. So, be sure to check with your doctor before you start buying other non-prescribed prenatal vitamins.
For the Nigerians, as we eagerly await the result of our votes, remember to rejoice with whoever wins and let’s play our parts to make Nigeria a great nation.
Good night, people 😀