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It is generally recommended that medications only be used in pregnancy where the potential harms to both the mother and foetus are outweighed by the potential benefits. Despite the known harms associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the use of medication for the treatment of pregnant women with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) appears to be rare. This is likely due to the lack of available data regarding the safety of these medications in pregnancy. We reviewed the literature and weighed up the harms associated with alcohol use and AUD during pregnancy with the potential benefits of medications for AUD in pregnancy, including acamprosate, naltrexone and disulfiram. There is little published evidence to support the safety of medications for AUD in pregnancy. However, from the research available it is likely that only disulfiram has the potential to cause serious foetal harm. While further research is required, acamprosate and naltrexone do not appear to be associated with substantial risks of congenital malformations or other serious consequences. Given the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the use of acamprosate and naltrexone should be considered for the treatment of pregnant women with AUD based on the current evidence base, although more research is warranted.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





739 - 748