Background: It is important to control asthma during pregnancy. However, some studies indicate that women stop or change their asthma medications when they become pregnant. Objective: We used a population database to analyze changes in prescriptions for asthma medications to patients before, during, and after pregnancy.
Methods: We collected information from a pregnancy database that is part of the population-based pharmacy prescription InterAction Database from the northern Netherlands. Our study cohort comprised 25,709 pregnancies for which prescription data were available. We collected data over a study period of 1 year before pregnancy until 6 months after birth and analyzed data from pregnant women who received at least 1 prescription for asthma medication during the study period (n = 2072), identifying all prescriptions for asthma medication and oral corticosteroids.
Results: Prescriptions for asthma medications did not change during pregnancies from 1994-2003. However, during the 2004-2009 period, there was a significant decrease (P = .017) in prescriptions for asthma medications during the first months of pregnancy compared with the months before pregnancy, especially prescriptions of long-acting bronchodilators. Although most asthma prescriptions continued throughout pregnancy, prescriptions for controller therapies were reduced by 30% during the first months of pregnancy.
Conclusions: Many women stop or reduce their use of asthma medications when they become pregnant. Strategies to safely control asthma during pregnancy are needed. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013;131:711-7.)