Use of Coptidis Rhizoma and foetal growth: a follow-up study of 9,895 pregnancies

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2006 Mar;15(3):185-92. doi: 10.1002/pds.1170.


Purpose: To explore the effect of Coptidis Rhizoma on foetal growth in pregnancy.

Methods: During 1985-1987, each pregnant woman with 26 or more weeks of gestation who came to the Taipei Municipal Maternal and Child Hospital for prenatal care was enrolled and interviewed by three trained interviewers using structured questionnaires to obtain detailed information including the herbal medicines used during pregnancy. Medical histories of diabetes, hypertension, antepartum haemorrhage and medicines used during pregnancy were abstracted from medical records of mothers'. Data of birth weight, gestational duration and characteristics of infants were gathered from the Taiwan national birth registration. A total of 9,895 singleton livebirths were analysed. The variables related to foetal growth included two dichotomous measures: low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age (SGA); and one continuous measure: birth weight. Potential risk factors associated with these outcomes were investigated using multiple logistic and linear regression models.

Results: After adjustment, pregnant women taking Coptidis Rhizoma during pregnancy had no significantly adverse effect on foetal growth. There was a non-significantly slightly decreased mean of birth weight and increased risk of LBW and SGA babies if the frequency of using Coptidis Rhizoma was more than 56 times.

Conclusions: The usual usage of Coptidis Rhizoma during pregnancy seemed not to increase the adverse risk on foetal growth. Future observations for use of longer than 56 times or a higher cumulated dose were needed to clarify the safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight / drug effects*
  • Coptis chinensis
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / adverse effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / drug effects*
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Hospitals, Municipal
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Phytotherapy / adverse effects
  • Phytotherapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Time Factors


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Coptidis rhizoma extract