Substantial numbers of pregnant women are prescribed drugs that the
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies as having no human evidence
of safety for use during pregnancy or that evidence has shown can harm a developing
fetus, according to a study by investigators at the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality (Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;191:398-407).
The researchers reviewed data focusing on prescription drug use by 152 531
pregnant women from 1996 through 2000. Of these women, 64% were prescribed
a medication other than a vitamin or mineral supplement during their pregnancy.
Of these, almost 40% received a drug for which human safety during pregnancy
has not been established. Nearly 5% were prescribed drugs associated with
definite fetal risks in human or animal studies or based on human experience—a
risk that outweighs any possible benefit.
Hampton T. Pregnancy and Medication. JAMA. 2004;292(16):1946. doi:10.1001/jama.292.16.1946-b