Key Findings: Prescription Medication Use among Women in the United States, 1999-2006
The Maternal and Child Health Journal published a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study where researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to better understand the frequency of prescription medication use among pregnant women and non-pregnant women between 15-44 years of age. They also identified the most commonly used prescription medications within these two groups of women. CDC researchers found that almost 1 in 4 pregnant women and nearly 1 in 2 non-pregnant women between 15-44 years of age reported using prescription medication in the last 30 days. These results highlight the importance of understanding the safety of medications that women use during pregnancy. You can read the article’s abstract here, and read more below for a summary of this study’s findings.
Main Findings from This Study
- Almost 1 in 4 pregnant women and nearly 1 in 2 non-pregnant women of childbearing age reported using prescription medication in the last 30 days.
- Non-pregnant women were much more likely to report using more than one prescription medication in the last 30 days than pregnant women.
- There were some similarities in the types of prescription medications used by pregnant and non-pregnant women, but there were also some notable differences.
About this Study
- Researchers used data collected between 1999-2006 from NHANES for this study.
- NHANES is a cross-sectional survey designed to monitor the health and nutritional status of the civilian non-institutionalized U.S. population.1
Medication Use during Pregnancy: CDC’s Activities
CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) is working to improve the health of women and babies through its Treating for Two: Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy Initiative. Through Treating for Two,CDC is working with its partners, other federal agencies, and the public to understand trends in medication use among pregnant women and women of childbearing age and to provide women and healthcare providers with information about the safety or risk of using specific medications during pregnancy. This information will allow women and their doctors to make informed decisions about treating health conditions during pregnancy.
Treating for Two aims to:
- Expand Research: Expand and increase research efforts on links between medication use and pregnancy outcomes.
- Evaluate Evidence: Establish a system to review evidence and develop guidance for using specific medications in pregnancy.
- Influence Practice: Deliver up-to-date information to healthcare providers and the public to support clinical decision-making.
- For more information about medications and pregnancy, visit www.cdc.gov/pregnancymedication orwww.cdc.gov/treatingfortwo
- Have questions about how medications you are taking may affect a pregnancy? MotherToBaby.org can help you find the answers to your questions.
Key Findings Reference
Tinker SC, Broussard CS, Frey MT, Gilboa SM. Prevalence of prescription medication use among non-pregnant women of childbearing age and pregnant women in the United States—NHANES, 1999-2006. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2014
- National Center for Health Statistics. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update on overall prevalence of major birth defects—Atlanta, Georgia, 1978-2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2008;57(1):1-5.
- Adam MP, Polifka JE, Friedman JM. Evolving knowledge of the teratogenicity of medications in human pregnancy. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet. 2011; 157:175-82.