Background: Clinical advice to pregnant women with asthma is to maintain optimal therapeutic management; however, potential adverse effects of asthma treatments on fetal development remain uncertain. A study was undertaken to assess the association between maternal asthma and gestational exposure to asthma medications with risk of congenital malformation in offspring. Methods: A matched case-control study was performed using The Health Improvement Network primary care database. Children with malformations were matched to control children on birth year, general practice and singleton or twin delivery. Results: 5124 cases of liveborn children with major congenital malformations and 30 053 controls were included in the study. The risk of any malformation in children born to women with asthma was marginally higher than that in children born to women without asthma (adjusted OR 1.10, 95% Cl 1.01 to 1.20). However, no association was present in children born to mothers receiving asthma treatment in the year before or during pregnancy (OR 1.06, 95% Cl 0.94 to 1.20). In assessing teratogenicity of medications, no increased risk of malformation was found with gestational exposures to short- or long-acting β agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, oral corticosteroids, other bronchodilators or cromones. These findings were similar for each of 11 system-specific malformation groups, except for an increase in musculoskeletal system malformation associated with cromone exposure. Conclusions: Gestational exposure to commonly used asthma medications was found to be safe overall, although a moderate teratogenic risk of cromones cannot be excluded. There was some evidence of a small increased risk of congenital malformation in children born to women with asthma, but this was not explained by gestational exposure to asthma drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine