Asthma Medication Use During Pregnancy

Inhaled glucocorticoid use during pregnancy did not increase the risk of diseases in childrean

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Women can ease most of their fears when it comes to using asthma medication during pregnancy. A new study shows one type of asthma treatment did not increase the risk of most diseases in children.

A new study shows that using inhaled glucocorticoids, such as Pulmicort (budesonide), during pregnancy did not increase the risk of most diseases in children. While this is good news, inhaled glucocorticoids may also increase the risk of metabolic or endocrine ailments.

"Ask your doctor about any medication to avoid taking during pregnancy."

The study involved 65,085 mothers and children and was led by Marion Tegethoff, PhD, associate faculty member in clinical psychology and psychiatry at the University of Basel, Switzerland. The mothers and children were followed for close to six years.

Out of all the women, 4,083 had asthma. Close to 80 percent of mothers with asthma used budesonide to treat their asthma.

Metabolic disturbances affect how children process food into energy. The endocrine system produces chemicals that regulate the body's normal functions, and includes the pancreas, the pituitary gland in the brain and the adrenal glands.

The study did find that mothers who had used inhaled glucocorticoids had an increased risk for “first diagnosis of endocrine and metabolic disorders.”

Despite the possible increase in disturbances to metabolism or the endocrine system, the study supports the use of inhaled glucocorticoids during pregnancy.

Since this was an observational study, more testing needs to be done to evaluate the use of glucorticoids during pregnancy. This includes determining how much inhaled glucocorticoids affect metabolic or endocrine disturbances. Other studies can evaluate other asthma medications and any possible risks associated with their use during pregnancy.

Women with asthma who use budesonide or another inhaled glucocorticoid should not worry about using their medication during pregnancy. 

This study was published in the December edition of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 16, 2011
Last Updated:
December 18, 2011