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Medication use in pregnancy: a cross-sectional, multinational web-based study
  1. A Lupattelli1,
  2. O Spigset2,3,
  3. M J Twigg4,
  4. K Zagorodnikova5,
  5. A C Mårdby6,
  6. M E Moretti7,
  7. M Drozd8,
  8. A Panchaud9,
  9. K Hämeen-Anttila10,
  10. A Rieutord11,
  11. R Gjergja Juraski12,
  12. M Odalovic13,
  13. D Kennedy14,
  14. G Rudolf15,
  15. H Juch16,
  16. A Passier17,
  17. I Björnsdóttir1,
  18. H Nordeng1,18
  1. 1School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Department of Clinical Pharmacology, St Olav's University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  3. 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's and Women's Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  4. 4School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, UK
  5. 5Northwest Medical Center for Drug Safety in Pregnancy & Lactation, Northwest State Medical University n.a.I.I.Mechnikov, St Petersburg, Russia
  6. 6Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  7. 7The Motherisk Program, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  8. 8Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
  9. 9School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Geneva and Lausanne, Geneva, Switzerland
  10. 10Finnish Medicines Agency, Kuopio, Finland
  11. 11APHP, GH HUPS, Hop Antoine Béclère, Service Pharmacie, Clamart France and Européenne de Formation pour les Pharmaciens, Paris, France
  12. 12Neuropediatric Unit, Children's Hospital Srebrnjak, Zagreb, Croatia
  13. 13Department of Social Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Legislation, Faculty of pharmacy, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
  14. 14MotherSafe, Royal Hospital for Women and University of NSW, Randwick, Australia
  15. 15Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  16. 16Research Unit Human Teratogens, Institute for Cell Biology, Histology and Embryology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  17. 17Teratology Information Service (TIS), The Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb, Den Bosch, The Netherlands
  18. 18Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Angela Lupattelli; angela.lupattelli{at}


Objectives Intercountry comparability between studies on medication use in pregnancy is difficult due to dissimilarities in study design and methodology. This study aimed to examine patterns and factors associated with medications use in pregnancy from a multinational perspective, with emphasis on type of medication utilised and indication for use.

Design Cross-sectional, web-based study performed within the period from 1 October 2011 to 29 February 2012. Uniform collection of drug utilisation data was performed via an anonymous online questionnaire.

Setting Multinational study in Europe (Western, Northern and Eastern), North and South America and Australia.

Participants Pregnant women and new mothers with children less than 1 year of age.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Prevalence of and factors associated with medication use for acute/short-term illnesses, chronic/long-term disorders and over-the-counter (OTC) medication use.

Results The study population included 9459 women, of which 81.2% reported use of at least one medication (prescribed or OTC) during pregnancy. Overall, OTC medication use occurred in 66.9% of the pregnancies, whereas 68.4% and 17% of women reported use of at least one medication for treatment of acute/short-term illnesses and chronic/long-term disorders, respectively. The extent of self-reported medicated illnesses and types of medication used by indication varied across regions, especially in relation to urinary tract infections, depression or OTC nasal sprays. Women with higher age or lower educational level, housewives or women with an unplanned pregnancy were those most often reporting use of medication for chronic/long-term disorders. Immigrant women in Western (adjusted OR (aOR): 0.55, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.87) and Northern Europe (aOR: 0.50, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.83) were less likely to report use of medication for chronic/long-term disorders during pregnancy than non-immigrants.

Conclusions In this study, the majority of women in Europe, North America, South America and Australia used at least one medication during pregnancy. There was a substantial inter-region variability in the types of medication used.

  • Maternal medicine < OBSTETRICS
  • Therapeutics
  • Public Health

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