Use of stimulants, over-the-counter and prescription drugs among Danish pregnant women

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Using self-reports and blood samples from 225 unselected Danish first trimester pregnant women, the purpose of this study was to assess their use of stimulants, for example caffeine and nicotine as well as over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. According to self-reported information, 24% had used prescription drugs and 48% had used OTC drugs mainly acetaminophen (42%), 9.3% were habitual smokers, 44% stated a daily use of caffeinated beverages, and 1.3% used illegal drugs. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography with high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-HR-TOFMS) analysis was performed on corresponding blood samples applying golden standards for use of UPLC-HR-TOFMS in forensic medicine. Traces of prescription drugs were detected in 5.3% of the samples and 8.9% contained OTC drugs (acetaminophen 7.1%). Traces of smoking were identified in 8.0%, caffeine in 83% and illegal drugs in 0.9%. These results indicate a substantial use of OTC drugs and caffeine among Danish pregnant women. Blood analysis indicated that many women could be unaware of their caffeine intake. As common substances may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, healthcare professionals should inquire about such habits during pregnancy. The results also underline the need for more research into the molecular effects of such drugs on placental function and foetal development.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesBasic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology
Pages (from-to)205-210
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

    Research areas

  • acetaminophen, caffeine, over-the-counter drugs, pregnancy, prescription drugs

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