Exposure to folic acid antagonists during the first trimester of pregnancy and the risk of major malformations
Article first published online: 14 OCT 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 The British Pharmacological Society
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Volume 68, Issue 6, pages 956–962, December 2009
How to Cite
Matok, I., Gorodischer, R., Koren, G., Landau, D., Wiznitzer, A. and Levy, A. (2009), Exposure to folic acid antagonists during the first trimester of pregnancy and the risk of major malformations. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 68: 956–962. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2009.03544.x
- Issue published online: 27 NOV 2009
- Article first published online: 14 OCT 2009
- Received 26 April 2009 Accepted12 September 2009
- congenital malformations;
- drug safety;
- folic acid antagonists;
- pregnancy outcomes
WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ABOUT THIS SUBJECT
• Previous studies have suggested a tendency of antifolate drugs to be associated with higher rates of neural tube defects.
WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS
• This study makes use of the data on abortuses, which is missed in many other studies. In this case, the abortion data were critical.
• The study documents that clinicians should avoid, as much as possible, the use of folic acid antagonists during the first trimester of pregnancy, when embryogenesis takes place.
AIM To investigate the safety of folic acid antagonists during the first trimester of pregnancy in a large cohort.
METHODS Computerized databases for medications dispensed from 1998 to 2007 to women registered in ‘Clalit’ HMO, Israel southern district, was linked with maternal and infant hospitalization records, and to therapeutics abortions data. The risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes of folic acid antagonists exposure was assessed by adjusting for known confounders.
RESULTS Eighty-four thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three infants were born and 998 therapeutic abortions took place; 571 fetuses and infants were exposed to one or more folic acid antagonists in the first trimester of pregnancy. Exposure was associated with an overall increased risk of congenital malformations [odds ratio (OR) 2.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.92, 3.08], due mainly to increased risk for neural tube (adjusted OR 6.5, 95% CI 4.34, 9.15) and cardiovascular defects (OR 1.76, CI 1.05, 2.95).
CONCLUSION First-trimester exposure to folic acid antagonists is associated with increased risk of congenital malformations.