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Pregnant women stop asthma medication, study finds



Over a third of women with asthma stop their asthma medication when they become pregnant, warn researchers.

Their retrospective study of prescriptions dispensed in northern Holland between 2004 and 2009 found that 38.2% of women in the first trimester of pregnancy stopped using their asthma medication. Prescription data from almost 26,000 pregnant women were included in the study.

Of the asthma medications included in the study, long-acting bronchodilators and combination preparations were the drugs that experienced a significant decrease in prescriptions in the first months of pregnancy compared with the months before.

Medication use generally returned to normal within six months post-partum.

The authors conclude that almost 30% of women with asthma stop whatever controller therapy they are taking when they become pregnant. Although they were not able to find out how many women stopped asthma treatment without telling their doctor,  previous research suggests around a third of women who stop medication whilst pregnant do so without their doctor’s knowledge.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2012, available online 11 October