Study objective: Despite the increasing attention for the role of paternal exposures around the period of conception, there is no factual information about drug utilisation of fathers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to describe the drugs dispensed to fathers around conception, using pharmacy dispensing data of community pharmacies in Denmark and The Netherlands.
Design and setting: Using pharmacy dispensing data from the Pharmaco-epidemiological Prescription Database of North Jutland in Denmark and the InterAction database in The Netherlands, we examined the prescriptions reimbursed in the half year before conception of 56,735 Danish fathers from 1991 to 2000, and 5859 Dutch fathers from 1995 to 2000.
Main results: One third of all fathers had taken up prescriptions for at least one drug in the half year before conception, both in Denmark and in The Netherlands. In the majority of fathers only one type of drug was dispensed, but in both countries at least 5% of all fathers had redeemed three or more types of drugs. The main drugs purchased by fathers in Denmark and The Netherlands were antibiotics (14.3 and 6.3% of all fathers, respectively), analgesics (6.1 and 7.6%), antihistamines (2.0 and 2.0%) and anti-ulcer drugs (1.6 and 2.5%).
Conclusion: A large proportion of fathers used drugs around the time of conception. This finding emphasises the importance of safety information on therapeutic drugs with respect to potential paternal teratogenicity.