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A population analysis of prescriptions for asthma medications during pregnancy

Published:October 15, 2012DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2012.08.027

      Background

      It is important to control asthma during pregnancy. However, some studies indicate that women stop or change their asthma medications when they become pregnant.

      Objective

      We used a population database to analyze changes in prescriptions for asthma medications to patients before, during, and after pregnancy.

      Methods

      We collected information from a pregnancy database that is part of the population-based pharmacy prescription InterAction Database from the northern Netherlands. Our study cohort comprised 25,709 pregnancies for which prescription data were available. We collected data over a study period of 1 year before pregnancy until 6 months after birth and analyzed data from pregnant women who received at least 1 prescription for asthma medication during the study period (n = 2072), identifying all prescriptions for asthma medication and oral corticosteroids.

      Results

      Prescriptions for asthma medications did not change during pregnancies from 1994-2003. However, during the 2004-2009 period, there was a significant decrease (P = .017) in prescriptions for asthma medications during the first months of pregnancy compared with the months before pregnancy, especially prescriptions of long-acting bronchodilators. Although most asthma prescriptions continued throughout pregnancy, prescriptions for controller therapies were reduced by 30% during the first months of pregnancy.

      Conclusions

      Many women stop or reduce their use of asthma medications when they become pregnant. Strategies to safely control asthma during pregnancy are needed.

      Key words

      Abbreviations used:

      IADB (InterAction Database), NHG (Dutch College of General Practitioners)
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