Risk perception regarding drug use in pregnancy

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Abstract

Pregnant women, but also physicians, have unrealistically high perceptions of teratogenic drug effects. This may result in suboptimal treatment of disease and even influence decisions of whether to continue pregnancy. To attain more realistic teratogenic risk perceptions, several factors that influence this issue should be considered, and these are further discussed in this Clinical Opinion. Importantly, drug use may have several benefits, both for the pregnant woman’s health and to avoid negative fetal effects of untreated maternal disease. A greater focus on this aspect may act to balance risk perceptions. Furthermore, both pregnant women and physicians need access to drug information sources that provide realistic risk estimates to increase confidence in appropriate drug use and prescribing. We suggest that access to decision support and individually tailored information provided by drug information centers may contribute to this goal.

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