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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2001 Mar;95(1):127-31.

Perception of teratogenic risk of common medicines.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of La Laguna, La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.



To assess the perception of the teratogenic risk of common medication by professionals and lay people.


A visual-analogue scale was used to measure the perceived percentage of mothers who will deliver a child with a malformation, including those exposed to a list of drugs. Fifteen general practitioners, 10 gynaecologists, 106 pre-clinical students, 150 students in their clinical training, 81 pregnant women and 63 non-pregnant women were interviewed.


The perception of the teratogenic risk related to medication used in pregnancy was higher than the recognised risk in all groups, and for all drugs. The risk associated with safe medications was perceived to be higher by non-pregnant women as compared with the pregnant women. Pregnant women perceived the medication associated risk to be higher than physicians did for all drugs included in the questionnaire.


The high and unrealistic perception of teratogenic risk amongst women and health professionals may lead to abortions of otherwise wanted and healthy children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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