Higher intake of medications for digestive disorders in children prenatally exposed to drugs with atropinic properties

Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2019 Jun;33(3):314-326. doi: 10.1111/fcp.12428. Epub 2018 Nov 21.


Childhood digestive disorders are a common occurrence and are sometimes unexplained. Maternal medication during the development of the foetus' digestive system may contribute to the increase in childhood digestive disorders, especially with drugs acting on the cholinergic system. This study investigated the association between prenatal exposure to drugs with atropinic properties and the use of digestive disorder medications in childhood (0-3 years). Children from POMME (PrescriptiOn Médicaments Mères Enfants), a French database of reimbursed drugs for pregnant women and their children, were included (N = 8 372). Each drug prescribed during antenatal life was assigned an atropinic score (0 = null, 1 = low, 3 = strong). The prenatal atropinic burden was calculated as the sum of atropinic scores of drugs prescribed. More than 30% (N = 2 652) of the children were prenatally exposed to atropinic drugs. They used significantly more digestive disorder medications than unexposed children (RRa = 1.11 [1.06; 1.16]). The strength of the association increased with the prenatal atropinic burden. Our results suggest long-term digestive effects after prenatal exposure to atropinic drugs.

Keywords: atropinic drug; digestive disorder; drug safety; pharmacoepidemiology; prenatal exposure.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atropine Derivatives / administration & dosage
  • Atropine Derivatives / adverse effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Atropine Derivatives
  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Gastrointestinal Agents