Background. Monitoring medicine prescriptions in pregnancy is an aspect of extreme interest in term of public health.
Methods. A retrospective prevalence study using administrative healthcare databases was performed in order to evaluate medication prescriptions in Italy. A cohort of 274,938 pregnant women (15-49 years) residing in three Italian regions (Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Puglia), who delivered in 2014-2017, were enrolled. The prevalence of medication use was estimated as the proportion of pregnant women with any medication prescription in each of the following five trimesters: 1 before pregnancy (pre-T), 3 during pregnancy (1st TP, 2nd TP, 3rd TP) and 1 after pregnancy (post-T).
Results. About 80% of enrolled pregnant women received at least one prescription during pregnancy, 36.5% before pregnancy and 50.7% in the post-partum. The most prescribed medicine was folic acid (42%), mostly used in 1st TP (35%). Progesterone use was concentrated in 1st TP (19%) and increased as the number of previous abortions. Pregnancy use of antidiabetics, antihypertensives, and thyroid preparations were 24.1‰, 21.5‰, 101.8‰, respectively.
Conclusions. At the national level, this study confirmed the prescriptive trend observed in other European studies, but a regional variability for all medication groups was found. Further studies are needed in order to identify determinants of medication prescriptions during pregnancy in Italy.