Background There have been safety concerns considering long-term proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use, also during pregnancy. Aims To assess the risk of adverse neonatal outcomes associated with maternal intake of PPIs by means of systematic review and meta-analysis. Methods The systematic search included PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Database and Embase (inception until June 2019). All studies reporting >= 1 adverse pregnancy outcome comparing PPI users to non-users. Histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RA) were also compared to both non-users and PPI users. Outcomes included congenital malformations, abortion, stillbirth, neonatal death, preterm birth, small for gestational age and low birth weight. Pooled odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were obtained by random-effects modelling. PROSPERO study-protocol: CRD42018103320. Results In total, 26 observational studies (20 cohort, 6 case-control studies) were identified, of which 19 assessed PPIs and 12 H2RA. PPI use was associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.09-1.52), especially in case-control studies (OR 2.04, 1.46-2.86). No associations were found between H2RA and congenital malformations. No significant associations were found between PPI use and abortions, stillbirth, neonatal death, preterm birth and low-birth weight, although H2RA use may be associated with an increased risk of preterm birth (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.02-1.56). Although statistical heterogeneity and the risk of bias were overall low, clinical heterogeneity, information and selection bias may be present in the individual studies. Conclusions This meta-analysis suggests an association between maternal PPI use and congenital malformations in humans, yet power was insufficient to assess specific malformations and drugs.
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