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Obstet Gynecol Sci. 2018 Nov;61(6):649-654. doi: 10.5468/ogs.2018.61.6.649. Epub 2018 Oct 12.

Isotretinoin exposure in pregnant women in Korea.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cheil General Hospital and Women's Healthcare Center, Dankook University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ilsin Christian Hospital, Busan, Korea.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Miz Women's Hospital, Daejeon, Korea.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mam's Women's Hospital, Ulsan, Korea.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Catholic University of Daegu School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.



Isotretinoin is a notorious teratogen otherwise used for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Some countries, including those in North America and the European Union, implemented the pregnancy prevention program (PPP); however, no PPP has yet been established in South Korea. So the aim of this study was to evaluate the rate of pregnant women exposed to isotretinoin among the callers of the Korean Mother Safe Counseling Center.


This is a prospective cohort study. We evaluated the demographic characteristics, obstetric history, and isotretinoin exposure of pregnant women based on the mother safe registry from April 2010 to July 2016.


Among 22,374 callers, 650 (2.9%) pregnant women were exposed to isotretinoin. The mean age was 29.0±4.4 years in the isotretinoin-exposed group and 32.0±4.2 years in the unexposed group (P<0.001). Moreover, the incidence of pregnancies within 30 days after isotretinoin discontinuation or during isotretinoin intake was 78.9% (513/650). The median duration of isotretinoin exposure was 18 (1-4,231) days. Furthermore, from 2011 to 2015, the incidence of isotretinoin exposure was 2.9±1.2 pregnancies per 10,000 births in South Korea.


Approximately 80% of pregnant women are exposed to isotretinoin within the recommended 30 days of contraception or during pregnancy. Therefore, the PPP has to be established in South Korea.


Isotretinoin; Pregnancy; Teratogen

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest: No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

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