Data quality and methodology in studies on maternal medication use in relation to congenital anomalies

Linda de Jonge

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    615 Downloads (Pure)


    In the Netherlands one in 30 children is born with a congenital anomaly, like spina bifida, cleft or a heart defect. One of the risk factors for congenital anomalies is maternal medication taken during pregnancy; this is very common, despite uncertainties about the safety of many medicines. Special databases to record full information on congenital anomalies are needed to be able to investigate possible associations with maternal medication use during pregnancy. EUROCAT maintains one such database. EUROCAT is an European network of congenital anomalies registries. In addition, good information on maternal medication use during pregnancy is needed.
    This thesis shows that linking prescription databases to EUROCAT data supplements the data recorded on mother’s medication use, which is not always complete for specific medications like certain antidepressants, anti-asthmatics, antibacterials, and some ovulation stimulants. However, from prescription databases it is still unclear whether the prescribed medication was actually taken. We therefore studied the actual use of medicines during pregnancy. It seems that most medication is indeed taken, which means that data from prescription records can be used as a reliable source of data for research into medication use during pregnancy. Very large databases are needed for monitoring possible associations between maternal medication use in pregnancy and congenital anomalies and these can only be realised by international collaborations, as formed for the EUROmediCAT project, for example.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • van Langen, Irene, Supervisor
    • van den Berg, Lolkje, Supervisor
    • Bakker, Marian, Co-supervisor
    Award date2-Mar-2016
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-8622-5
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8621-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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