Health Canada warns ‘wakefulness-promoting drug’ may cause fetal harm

Health Canada is warning against the use of modafinil for individuals who are pregnant, or may become pregnant.Modafinil, sold under the brand Alertec, is used to help treat adult patients with sleeping disorders, such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and shift work disorder. Alertec is sold in Canada in 100 mg tablets.Story continues belowREAD MORE: Sleep deprived? What missing too much sleep might be doing to your bodyThe FDA has labelled it a “wakefulness-promoting drug,” that essentially helps patients with “excessive sleepiness.”However, Health Canada said Thursday that it has been associated with “major fetal congenital malformations,” including ones related to the heart. There have also been reports that it has led to low fetal growth, and poor physical development of babies.Health care professionals are now being advised to ask patients with reproductive potential to take a pregnancy test within one week of starting the medication, and to use contraceptives once on the treatment.WATCH: Five ways to create the perfect sleep environment

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Health Canada warns ‘wakefulness-promoting drug’ may cause fetal harm

Health Canada is warning against the use of modafinil for individuals who are pregnant, or may become pregnant.Modafinil, sold under the brand Alertec, is used to help treat adult patients with sleeping disorders, such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and shift work disorder. Alertec is sold in Canada in 100 mg tablets.Story continues belowREAD MORE: Sleep deprived? What missing too much sleep might be doing to your bodyThe FDA has labelled it a “wakefulness-promoting drug,” that essentially helps patients with “excessive sleepiness.”However, Health Canada said Thursday that it has been associated with “major fetal congenital malformations,” including ones related to the heart. There have also been reports that it has led to low fetal growth, and poor physical development of babies.Health care professionals are now being advised to ask patients with reproductive potential to take a pregnancy test within one week of starting the medication, and to use contraceptives once on the treatment.WATCH: Five ways to create the perfect sleep environment

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