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May 1967

The Ophthalmologist and Perinatal Pharmacology

Arch Ophthalmol. 1967;77(5):575-577. doi:10.1001/archopht.1967.00980020577001

THE NUMBER of pharmacologic mishaps involving newborns and infants in recent years stresses the need for further knowledge of the influence of immaturity and development on the action of drugs.

Ophthalmologists are particularly concerned with drugs necessary to manage the expectant mother's ocular disease, because these may produce undesirable effects on the fetus.

Pharmacologically, the placental barrier is largely a myth. The literature on the placental passage of various substances1,2 indicates that almost any drug given to the pregnant woman can be expected to pass into the fetus during the stages of gestation. There is also evidence that substances may reach the fetus by extraplacental routes.3,4

Among the factors that influence the quantities of drugs transferred through the placenta are lipid solubility, metabolic activity, ionic charge, polarity, the state of the mother, and the influence of the agent on the placental metabolism.

It appears that many of the