Objective: Exploratory investigation on drug use by fathers before and during pregnancy with regard to the number of pregnancies.
Research design and methods: Data of Dutch community pharmacies were used in which fathers were linked to children. The prevalence of the 15 most prescribed drug groups were calculated per trimester for one trimester preconception and three trimesters during pregnancy. Drugs with possible harmful effect on the semen and/or embryo based on recent safety issues were analyzed for two trimesters before conception. Descriptive statistics was used.
Results: During the four trimesters, fathers had used one or more drugs in 73% of the pregnancies. Per trimester, drug use ranged from 35 to 39%, with the highest prevalence in the third trimester, statistically significant for the use of one or two drugs. Drugs used most frequently belong to 'anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic products'. Drugs such as SSRIs with possible harmful effect on the semen and/or embryo are used in 1.4% by fathers before conception.
Conclusion: A proportion of 73% of fathers used drugs before and during pregnancy, increasing toward the third trimester. To increase the knowledge on possible effects, organizations like EUROCAT and (EN)(O)TIS might be encouraged to also collect paternal drug use.