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.
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