Pregnancy Registries: Advantages and Disadvantages


Gerald G. Briggs, B.Pharm.

How can enrollment be accomplished as early as possible in pregnancy (after exposure, but before the outcome is known), and how can more complete ascertainment of exposure and outcome be improved? An approach that some registries have used to address this is by "direct to consumer" campaigns. Registries such as the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) Autoimmune Diseases in Pregnancy Registry require that the pregnant woman herself enroll in the study, and therefore, the study is marketed directly to those women, although physician referral is encouraged. At least in this case, this has led to low rates of lost to follow-up (less than 5%), recruitment timing that is typically before the seventh or eighth week of gestation, and collection of specific information on dose and timing in gestation of exposure.

Multiple drug, disease-based, multiple sponsor registries such as the Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnancy Registry, the North American Antiepileptic Drugs in Pregnancy Registry (patients call 888-233-2334), and the National Pregnancy Registry for Atypical Antipsychotics (866-961-2388) offer distinct advantages but are not always feasible for a specific product. A national pregnancy registry for all new drugs has been suggested as another solution to many of the challenges facing single product registries and to streamline referral and follow-up. In addition, including pregnant women in selected preapproval studies has several advantages. Finally, creative new technologies for earlier and more complete ascertainment and referral, such as use of electronic medical records, should be fully explored. The need for safety information on new drugs is urgent.

Dr. Chambers is professor of pediatrics and family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. She is director of the California Teratogen Information Service and Clinical Research Program. Dr. Chambers is a past president of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists and past president of the Teratology Society. Dr. Cohen directs the perinatal psychiatry program at Massachusetts General Hospital, which provides information about pregnancy and mental health. Dr. Koren is professor of pediatrics, pharmacology, pharmacy, and medical genetics at the University of Toronto. He heads the Research Leadership for Better Pharmacotherapy During Pregnancy and Lactation at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, where he is director of the Motherisk program. Mr. Briggs is a pharmacist clinical specialist at the outpatient clinics of Memorial Care Center for Women at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Calif.; a clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco; and an adjunct professor of pharmacy at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and Washington State University, Spokane. He also is coauthor of "Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation." Dr. Cohen is the principal investigator on the National Pregnancy Registry for Atypical Antipsychotics, which is sponsored by multiple atypical antipsychotic manufacturers.

Dr. Chambers, Dr. Koren, and Mr. Briggs said they had no relevant financial disclosures.


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