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Adverse pregnancy outcomes after exposure to methylphenidate or atomoxetine during pregnancy

Authors Bro SP, Kjaersgaard M, Parner E, Sørensen MJ, Olsen J, Bech B, Pedersen LH, Christensen J, Vestergaard M

Received 19 August 2014

Accepted for publication 16 October 2014

Published 29 January 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 139—147


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen

Søren Pauli Bro,1 Maiken Ina Siegismund Kjaersgaard,2 Erik Thorlund Parner,2 Merete Juul Sørensen,3 Jørn Olsen,4 Bodil Hammer Bech,4 Lars Henning Pedersen,4,5 Jakob Christensen,6,7 Mogens Vestergaard1

1Research Unit and Section for General Practice, Department of Public Health, 2Section for Biostatistics, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, 3Regional Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Aarhus University Hospital, 4Section for Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, 5Department of Clinical Medicine – Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aarhus University, 6Department of Clinical Pharmacology, 7Department of Neurology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Objective: To determine if prenatal exposure to methylphenidate (MPH) or atomoxetine (ATX) increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Materials and methods: This was a population-based cohort study of all pregnancies in Denmark from 1997 to 2008. Information on use of ADHD medication, ADHD diagnosis, and pregnancy outcomes was obtained from nationwide registers.
Results: We identified 989,932 pregnancies, in which 186 (0.02%) women used MPH/ATX and 275 (0.03%) women had been diagnosed with ADHD but who did not take MPH/ATX. Our reference pregnancies had no exposure to MPH/ATX and no ADHD diagnosis. Exposure to MPH/ATX was associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion (SA; ie, death of an embryo or fetus in the first 22 weeks of gestation) (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03–2.36). The risk of SA was also increased in pregnancies where the mother had ADHD but did not use MPH/ATX (aRR 1.56, 95% CI 1.11–2.20). The aRR of Apgar scores <10 was increased among exposed women (aRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.11–3.82) but not among unexposed women with ADHD (aRR 0.99, 95% CI 0.48–2.05).
Conclusion: MPH/ATX was associated with a higher risk of SA, but our study indicated that it may at least partly be explained by confounding by indication. Treatment with MPH/ATX was however associated with low Apgar scores <10, an association not found among women with ADHD who did not use MPH/ATX.

Keywords: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, methylphenidate, atomoxetine, pregnancy outcomes

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