Topical corticosteroids OK during pregnancy

September 9, 2013

Pregnant women can use topical corticosteroids for short periods of time and in normal doses without posing a risk to the fetus, recent research suggests.

 

Pregnant women can use topical corticosteroids for short periods of time and in normal doses without posing a risk to the fetus, recent research suggests.

Researchers with Far East Memorial Hospital, New Taipei, Taiwan, examined the safety of topical corticosteroid use in patients who are pregnant, noting that topical corticosteroids are the most frequently used drugs to treat skin conditions and are prescribed to more than 6 percent of pregnant women. Using data from the United Kingdom National Health Service, investigators studied 2,658 pregnant women who were exposed to topical corticosteroids and 7,246 pregnant women who did not use the topical treatment.

The exposed group included women ages 15 to 44 who were given one or more prescriptions for topical corticosteroids during pregnancy. There were no associations of corticosteroid exposure with orofacial cleft, low birth weight, preterm delivery, fetal death, low Apgar score or mode of delivery in the primary analysis, according to the study.

An exploratory analysis demonstrated a significantly increased risk of low birth weight when the amount of topical corticosteroids used exceeded 300 grams during the course of the entire pregnancy (adjusted risk ratio, 7.74 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.49-40.11]; P=0.02).

“With this study and all available evidence taken together, the risk of low birth weight seems to correlate with the quantity of topical corticosteroid exposure,” study authors noted.

The study was published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Dermatology

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