Antimicrobial agents are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in pregnancy due to the increased susceptibility to infections during pregnancy. Antimicrobials can contribute to different maternal complications. Therefore, it is important to study their patterns in prescription and utilization. The data regarding this issue is scarce in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the aim of this study is to generate data on the antimicrobial agents that are most commonly prescribed during pregnancy as well as their indications and safety.
This is a retrospective study focusing on pregnant women with a known antimicrobial use at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH). The sample included 344 pregnant women with a total of 688 antimicrobial agents prescribed. Data was collected on the proportion of pregnant women who received antimicrobial agents and on the drug safety during pregnancy using the risk categorization system of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The results showed that urinary tract infections (UTIs) were the most reported (59%) infectious diseases. Around 48% of pregnant women received antimicrobial medications at some point during pregnancy. The top two antimicrobial agents based on prescription frequency were B-lactams (44.6%) and azole anti-fungals (30%). The prescribed drugs in the study were found to be from classes B, C and D under the FDA risk classification system.
The study revealed a high proportion of antimicrobials prescribed during pregnancy that might pose risks to mothers and their fetuses. Future multicenter studies are warranted to evaluate the rational prescription of antimicrobial medications during pregnancy.