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2017.06.21 Press Release

Drug Use before and during Pregnancy in Japan: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study

To elucidate drug use before and during pregnancy in Japan. Methods: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS) is an ongoing nationwide birth cohort study. We analyzed data from JECS involving cases where drugs were used for 12 months before pregnancy was diagnosed, between the time of diagnosis of pregnancy until week 12 of pregnancy, and after week 12 of pregnancy. Results: We analyzed data from 97,464 pregnant women. The percentages of pregnant women who had taken one or more drugs and supplements before diagnosis of pregnancy, between the time of diagnosis of pregnancy until week 12 of pregnancy, and after week 12 of pregnancy, were 78.4%, 57.1%, and 68.8% respectively. Excluding iron supplements, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals, the percentages of women taking supplements were 75.3%, 36.0%, and 51.7% at each respective time point. The following drugs and supplements were frequently used for 12 months before pregnancy diagnosis: Commercially available antipyretics, analgesics, and/or medicine for treating common cold (34.7%), antipyretics, analgesics, and/or medicine for treating common colds, which were prescribed in hospitals (29.8%), antimicrobial drugs (14.0%), and anti-allergy drugs (12.5%). The following drugs and supplements were frequently used from the time of pregnancy diagnosis until week 12 of pregnancy, and after week 12 of pregnancy: folic acid (28.9% and 26.2%), antipyretics, analgesics and/or medicines for treating common cold, that were prescribed in hospitals (7.8% and 13.3%), Chinese herbal medicines (6.0% and 9.4%, and uterine relaxants (5.1% and 15.2%). Conclusions: The analysis of a nationwide cohort study showed that a high percentage of Japanese pregnant women were taking medicinal drugs. Further research is required to elucidate the relationship between drug use during pregnancy and birth defects in Japan.

Publication Details:
Title: Drug Use before and during Pregnancy in Japan: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study
Authors: Hidekazu Nishigori, Taku Obara, Toshie Nishigori, Hirohito Metoki, Mami Ishikuro, Satoshi Mizuno, Kasumi Sakurai, Nozomi Tatsuta, Ichiko Nishijima, Ikuma Fujiwara, Takahiro Arima, Kunihiko Nakai, Nariyasu Mano, Shinichi Kuriyama, Nobuo Yaegashi and Japan Environment & Children’s Study Group
Journal:Pharmacy 2017, 5, 21; doi:10.3390/pharmacy5020021

For enquiries about this research:
Taku Obara
Associate professor,
Environment and Genome Research Center, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine
Email: obara-t@hosp.tohoku.ac.jp

For media enquiries:
Hitoshi Inada
Public Relations Office
Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine
Tel: +81-22-717-7891
E-mail: hinada@med.tohoku.ac.jp