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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Jan;182(1 Pt 1):159-63.

Monitoring pregnancy outcomes after prenatal drug exposure through prospective pregnancy registries: a pharmaceutical company commitment.

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Department of Worldwide Epidemiology, Glaxo Wellcome, Research TrianglePark, NC 27709, USA.



Glaxo Wellcome becomes aware of prenatal exposures to its medications as early as the clinical trial phase of development. An international process for monitoring prenatal exposure to all Glaxo Wellcome medicines has been developed. For specific products there are prospective pregnancy registries.


The registries are observational, case-registration, and follow-up studies designed to detect evidence of teratogenicity associated with specific medications. After prenatal exposure to the registry medication, pregnancies are registered prospectively, through voluntary reports by health care providers. An advisory committee of independent scientists for each registry reviews data and advises in dissemination of information. Risk of birth defects, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is compared with published risks both in women in the general population and in women with the underlying condition being treated, if available.


The following data show results from the prospective first-trimester exposures registered since establishment of each registry. The published risk of birth defects in the general population range is 3% to 5%, and the risk in women with epilepsy is 6% to 9%. The proportions of outcomes with birth defects are as follows: in the Acyclovir (antiviral medication) Pregnancy Registry (1984-1998) (19/581), 3.3% (95% confidence interval, 2.0%-5.2%); in the Lamotrigine (monotherapy and polytherapy antiepileptic medication) Pregnancy Registry (1992-September 1998) (8/123), 6.5% (95% confidence interval, 3.1%-12.8%); in the Sumatriptan (migraine medication) Pregnancy Registry (1996-October 1998) (7/183), 3.8% (95% confidence interval, 1.7%-8.0%). The Valacyclovir, Bupropion, and Naratriptan registries have insufficient data for analysis.


None of the registries has provided a risk estimate exceeding that expected in the disorder treated, and no pattern of defects has been observed. Whereas information from the larger registries is reassuring regarding risk, these studies cannot rule out possible small excess risks from use of these drugs in pregnancy. Data obtained through these registries are shared with the medical community as a supplement to animal toxicology studies to assist in weighing potential risks and benefits of treatment for individual patients. The success of the registries depends on the continued willingness of the obstetrics and gynecology community to notify the registries of prenatal exposures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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