Molnupiravir

(Date: December 2021. Version: 1.0)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by Public Health England on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

What is it?

Molnupiravir is an antiviral medicine that can stop early COVID-19 infection from developing into more serious illness. It is taken in tablet form by people with a positive COVID-19 PCR test and mild to moderate symptoms, who are at risk of severe COVID-19.

What are the benefits of using molnupirivir in pregnancy?

Molnupiravir is not recommended in pregnancy. Women of childbearing potential are recommended to use effective contraception whilst being treated with molnupiravir, and for four days after treatment ends.

This is a precautionary approach because of the way the medication works, and because of some studies in animals that suggested that molnupiravir might cause birth defects.

Molnupiravir is a new medicine and there is not yet any information about its use in humans.

What are the risks of using molnupiravir in pregnancy?

It is not yet known whether there are any risks of using molnupiravir in human pregnancy. Over the coming months, this situation may change as more information is gathered.

If you have taken molnupiravir in pregnancy, or you became pregnant shortly after you finished taking it, you should tell your doctor or midwife. If you live in the UK, you can also speak to UKTIS (telephone 0344 892 0909, available Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays, 9am to 5pm) for help and advice.

Are there any alternatives to using molnupiravir in pregnancy?

Yes. Other medicines can help prevent severe COVID-19 infection. Synthetic (manmade) antibodies like casirivimab/imdevimab (Ronapreve®) and sotrovimab (Xevudy®) are also new but because they only target the COVID-19 virus, it is thought unlikely to be harmful in pregnancy.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is strongly encouraged for all pregnant women in the UK. It can reduce the chance of infection and help to prevent serious illness, and may reduce the need for other medicines. For more information, please see here.

What if I prefer not to take medicines to treat COVID-19 during pregnancy?

Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and higher risks of premature delivery and stillbirth as a consequence. Your doctor will only offer medicines to treat COVID-19 when necessary and will be happy to talk to you about any concerns that you might have.

Will I or my baby need extra monitoring?

As part of routine antenatal care, most women will be offered a scan at 12 weeks of pregnancy and a more detailed scan at around 20 weeks to check the baby’s development. Women who have used molnupiravir in early pregnancy may be offered further scans in a Fetal Medicine Unit, to check the baby’s development in detail.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has used molnupiravir?

The manufacturer of molnupiravir does not detail any concerns about its use in men whose partners are trying to conceive. However, molnupiravir is a new medicine and because of the way it works, it could temporarily affect sperm around the time of use and for up to three months afterwards.

Please report any pregnancies that were conceived around the time that the male partner was using molnupiravir to UKTIS so that information on use of this drug can be collected to help couples in the future (telephone 0344 892 0909, available Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays, 9am to 5pm).

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet, please discuss them with your healthcare provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www.uktis.org.

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General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.

   

www.medicinesinpregnancy.org

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

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