AI-Humayyd, Mohammad S. King Saud University - Department of Pharmacology, Saudi Arabia , Babay, Zainab H. King Saud University - Department of Obstetrics Gynecology, Saudi Arabia
The drugs that were prescribed during pregnancy were assessed retrospectively in 727 Saudi pregnant women living in Riyadh region who attended the prenatal clinic of King Khalid University hospital from November 2004 until December 2005. Only drugs prescribed in an outpatient setting during pregnancy were included in the study. Drug exposures were presented in terms of three 90-day trimesters of pregnancy; first, second, and third trimester. In order to evaluate whether drugs with known risk have been prescribed, all medications taken during pregnancy were categorized into five groups: A,B,C,D and X according to Briggs etal.,1978. The study showed that during pregnancy; nearly 31% of pregnant women took no prescription drugs at any stage, whereas 69% were found to have been prescribed at least one drug with a mean of 2.87 medications per woman. The most commonly prescribed drugs were folic acid, iron preparations, anti-infectives, especially systemic antibiotics and drugs for endocrine disorders. The study, also, showed that the rate of prescribed drugs was highest during the third trimester (58%), with a diminishing trend in the second (26%) and first (16%) trimesters, respectively. The observed patterns in the prescribing of drugs for the three trimesters are consistent with other previous studies. Further, the study showed a well considered and cautious drug prescription during pregnancy by the obstetricians in our hospital. Since the potential risks for drugs used during pregnancy on the foetus have been established for only few drugs, the present study emphasizes the need for clear guidelines for the physicians on the use of drugs during pregnancy.