Drug prescriptions in French pregnant women between 2015 and 2016: A study in the EGB database

Therapie. May-Jun 2021;76(3):239-247. doi: 10.1016/j.therap.2020.07.002. Epub 2020 Jul 10.


Purpose: To describe drug prescriptions in pregnant women in France and to identify teratogenic and fetotoxic drug prescriptions.

Methods: This study was carried out using data from Échantillon Généraliste des Bénéficiaires (EGB), a French national health database which includes 1/97th of the French population. Our study population included all pregnant women, aged 10 to 60, who were registered in the EGB and had a pregnancy outcome between 2015 and 2016. Drugs prescribed and dispensed to women during pregnancy and the 3 months before, were collected and described for each year and according to pregnancy trimesters. Prescriptions of major teratogen or fetotoxic drugs were described.

Results: We identified 18,279 pregnancies. Among them, 93% received drug prescriptions and dispensations during pregnancy with an average of 7.4±5.5 different drugs. "Alimentary tract and metabolism (75.4%)", "nervous system (64.0%)" and "blood and blood forming organs (58.7%)" classes were the most frequently prescribed to pregnant women. The 5 most frequently prescribed drugs were paracetamol (60.6%), iron (49.2%), folic acid (45.6%), phloroglucinol (44.0%) and colecalciferol (41.4%). The most commonly prescribed drugs included some that have not yet been well evaluated in pregnancy. Prescriptions and dispensations of teratogenic or fetotoxic drugs, as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and retinoids were observed. Valproic acid prescriptions to pregnant women have become extremely rare.

Conclusion: This descriptive study demonstrates that numerous drugs are prescribed and dispensed to pregnant women in France. These include drugs with a proven teratogenic or fetotoxic effect and many drugs that have not yet been well evaluated in pregnancy.

Keywords: Administrative healthcare database; Drug prescriptions; EGB database; Pregnancy; Teratogenicity.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Pregnant Women*