Intended for healthcare professionals


National system for monitoring all drug use in pregnancy already exists

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 10 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1414
  1. D N Bateman, Reader in therapeuticsa,
  2. P McElhatton, Teratologist, national teratology information servicea
  1. a National Drug and Therapeutics Centre, NHS Executive, Wolfson Unit, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH

    Editor—Discussion of the postmarketing surveillance of a new epileptic drug caused John J Craig and James I Morrow to report their establishment of a register of epileptic patients who become pregnant.1 This is a worthy venture, but doctors may become confused about where they should send communications on drug outcomes in pregnancy.

    The National Teratology Information Service is a unit in Newcastle upon Tyne, funded by the Department of Health; it both provides information on drug use in pregnancy and monitors the outcome of pregnancy for a range of drugs, including anticonvulsants. The centre is also part of a European network of teratology information services, which enables the pooling of data from across the European Community and hence has the potential to produce a more comprehensive comparison of risk.2 In addition, obstetricians in Scotland have their own initiative in collaboration with us.

    In these circumstances, therefore, we wish to remind readers of the national system, which applies to all drug use and chemical use in pregnancy of which we are notified. We hope that Craig and Morrow will collaborate with existing national databases, including that held by the Committee on Safety of Medicines, which is used extensively for drug regulatory purposes.


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