Safety of diclofenac use during early pregnancy: A prospective observational cohort study

Reprod Toxicol. 2018 Apr:77:122-129. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2018.02.007. Epub 2018 Mar 22.


Diclofenac is a widely used analgesic so that exposure during pregnancy may frequently occur. Most publications have evaluated the safety of NSAIDs on pregnancy outcome as a group of substances. Specific data on diclofenac are rare. This observational cohort study used the German Embryotox pharmacovigilance database to assess the risk of major birth defects and spontaneous abortion after first trimester exposure to diclofenac. A group of 260 women who took diclofenac during first trimester was compared to 778 non-exposed pregnancies. In the diclofenac exposed cohort 4 major birth defects were observed among 220 live-born infants and 25 spontaneous abortions occurred. Neither the rate of major birth defects (1.8% vs. 3.1%; OR adjusted 0.59; 95% CI 0.17-2.08) nor the risk of spontaneous abortion (HR adjusted 0.90; 95% CI 0.56-1.46) was increased. The study results do not indicate that diclofenac exposure during first trimester is associated with a teratogenic risk.

Keywords: Birth defect; Diclofenac; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID); Pregnancy outcome; Spontaneous abortion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Diclofenac / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Diclofenac