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J Med Assoc Thai. 2002 Oct;85(10):1081-8.

Increasing trend of illicit drug abuse in Thai parturient at Siriraj Hospital.

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Department of Obstertrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.



To report the magnitude of the problem and to evaluate the outcome of maternal illicit drug use in Thai parturients.


Retrospective case-control study.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University.


The subjects were 44,640 parturients who had deliveries at Siriraj Hospital from January 1998 to December 2001 and were divided into two groups. The study group consisted of 66 parturients with a history of illicit drug use and the control group consisted of 44,574 parturients without a history of illicit drug use.


Medical records of 66 parturients with a history of illicit drug use were reviewed. Obstetric statistics of the department were retrieved from the computerized database in the Division of Obstetric and Gynecologic Registry. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


Characteristics of parturients, pregnancy outcome, type and incidence of illicit drug.


Within the study period, 66 cases of maternal illicit drug use were identifiable during the intrapartum period; 65 cases used amphetamine or derivatives and 1 case used an opioid derivative. The number had risen from 1 case in 1998 to 58 cases in 2001. Mean age of the patients was 23.30 +/- 6.04 years. Compared to the control group which included 44,574 parturients, the patients had a lower incidence of antenatal care (ANC rate = 21.21% vs 94.35%; RR = 0.23, 95% CI = 0.14-0.26), a higher incidence of HIV infection (10% vs 2%; RR = 6.09, 95% CI = 2.83-13.12), a higher incidence of birth before arrival (BBA rate = 9.09% vs 1.06%; RR = 8.59, 95% CI = 3.98-18.51), and a lower cesarean section rate (10.60% vs 26.36%; RR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.20-0.81). There were no serious intrapartum, immediate postpartum and neonatal complication. Fetal outcome included a higher incidence of low birth weight infants (22.73% vs 10.23%; RR = 2.22, 95% CI = 1.42-3.46) and a smaller head circumference than the normal range of Thai fetal biometry (31.85 +/- 1.47 cm).


There is an increasing trend of illicit drug use in Thai parturients. Although the present case series of drug abuse in Thai parturients cannot give the whole picture of maternal drug abuse in the Thai population, the dramatic increase in the identifiable cases during the past 4 years is very alarming. Currently, the outcome of pregnancy in case detected during intrapartum is not much different from that in the general population. However, there are potential risks for the patients and their babies. All medical staffs should be aware of this condition. Careful clinical data gathering and laboratory testing are suggested for prevention of complications and the potential hazards of this problem.

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