Prescription drug abuse is when you use prescription drug in a way other that instructed by your doctor. This abuse is a growing concern. If you are pregnant, you can only take prescription drugs with your doctor’s permission. Abusing prescription drugs can be harmful to  you and your unborn child. If you have  a problem of abusing prescription drugs, you need to let your doctor know right away. He  will help get you treatment to quit.

prescription drug abuse

How are prescription drugs abused ?


When your health care provider prescribes a medication. He tells you exactly how much to take, how often you should take it and how long you can take it. You are abusing the drug if you are :

  •   taking  larger dose  than instructed
  • taking the drug more often than prescribed
  •  taking the medication for other reasons other than the originally prescribed
  •   taking the medication with alcohol or another drug
  •   using someone else’s medication


What are the commonly abused prescription drugs ?


Opioids: These are usually prescribed pain medications especially after surgery or injury. They are sometimes also used as pre-anesthetic sedative. These drugs can be harmful when abused. Some of the common names include :

  • morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)
  • oxycodone (Oxycotin®, Percocet®)
  • Tylenol 3®, which contains codeine and acetaminophen


Stimulants : These prescription medications are used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some of the common names include the following :

  • Dextroamphetamine (Adderall®, Dexedrine®)
  • Methylphenidate (Concerta®, Ritalin®)


CNS Depressants : These medications are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorder. They consist of 2 categories. These are barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Common prescription names include :

  • Benzodiazepines, like diazepam (Valium®) and alprazolam (Xanex®)
  • Non-benzodiazepine sleep medicines, like zolpidem (Ambien®), eszopiclone (Lunesta®) and zalepon (Sonata®)
  • Barbituarates, like mephobarbital (Mebaral®) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®)


It is very important for your health care provider to  know every medication you taking.


What is the effect of prescription drug abuse on my health ?


Abusing prescription drugs can result in various health problems such as

  • irregular heart beat
  • breathing problems
  • seizures
  • dangerously high body temperature


What is the effect of prescription drug abuse on my baby ?


Everything a pregnant woman eats or  drinks will negatively or positively affect the pregnancy. Drugs are able to crosse the placenta to reach the baby. The effect of drugs on the developing baby is largely dependent on the stage of a woman’s pregnancy. Pregnancy problem that can result from this abuse include the following :


What should I do if I am pregnant and abusing prescription medications ?


During pregnancy, you need to change your lifestyle habits for the sake of you and your baby. Admitting you have a problem is a huge step. At your prenatal appointment, be honest and tell your health care provider about it. He will find  treatment to help you quit.


Content Sources
Abusing prescription drugs during preganncy. American Pregnancy Association. Accessed December 30, 2014

Drug use and pregnancy. WebMD. Accessed December 30, 2014

Prescription drug abuse . March of Dimes. December 30, 2014


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