Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists Studied in Pregnancy

Small study shows no adverse effects of montelukast, zafirlukast use on perinatal outcomes

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Leukotriene receptor antagonists don't seem to cause major adverse perinatal outcomes when used by pregnant women with asthma, although more study is needed, according to a report in the March issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Ludmila N. Bakhireva, M.D., from the University of California San Diego, and colleagues compared perinatal outcomes among 96 women with mild, physician-diagnosed asthma who took montelukast or zafirlukast (both leukotriene receptor antagonists) during pregnancy, 122 women who only took short-acting beta-agonists, and 346 women without asthma.

Leukotriene receptor antagonist-use did not increase the risk of a lost pregnancy, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, low maternal weight gain, preterm delivery, low Apgar scores or reduced measures of birth length and head circumference in infants. A 5.95 percent increase in major structural defects at birth was noted but this was similar for women using beta-agonists, suggesting the effect is disease-specific.

"Even though this study could not rule out mild effects of leukotriene receptor antagonists on perinatal outcomes, this report provides some reassuring information to clinicians and pregnant women that leukotriene receptor antagonists are not human teratogens on the scale of a major teratogenic compound," the authors write. "However, the results should be interpreted with caution until the safety of these medications is studied in larger samples."

The authors report multiple pharmaceutical company affiliations.

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