Investigating maternal and neonatal health outcomes associated with continuing or ceasing dexamphetamine treatment for women with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder during pregnancy: a retrospective cohort study

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Abstract

Purpose
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is becoming more commonly diagnosed in women, consequently, more women of reproductive age are taking ADHD medication, such as dexamphetamine. However, the safety associated with continuing or ceasing dexamphetamine during pregnancy is unclear. This study investigates outcomes associated with the continuation of dexamphetamine during pregnancy compared to those who ceased or were unexposed.

Methods
A population-based retrospective cohort of women from Western Australia who had been dispensed dexamphetamine during pregnancy and gave birth between 2003 and 2018. Women had either continued to take dexamphetamine throughout pregnancy (continuers, n = 547) or ceased dexamphetamine before the end of the second trimester (ceasers, n = 297). Additionally, a matched (1:1) comparison group of women who were dispensed an ADHD medication prior to pregnancy but not during pregnancy (unexposed) was included in the study (n = 844). Multivariable generalised linear models were used to compare maternal and neonatal health outcomes.

Results
Compared to continuers, ceasers had greater odds of threatened abortion (OR: 2.28; 95%CI: 1.00, 5.15; p = 0.049). The unexposed had some benefits compared to the continuers, which included lower risk of preeclampsia (OR: 0.58; 95%CI: 0.35, 0.97; p = 0.037), hypertension (OR: 0.32; 95%CI: 0.11, 0.93; p = 0.036), postpartum haemorrhage (OR: 0.57; 95%CI: 0.41, 0.80; p = 0.001), neonatal special care unit admittance (OR: 0.16; 95%CI: 0.12, 0.20; p < 0.001) and fetal distress (OR: 0.73; 95%CI: 0.54, 0.99; p = 0.042).

Conclusion
Continuing dexamphetamine throughout pregnancy was not associated with an increase in adverse neonatal and maternal health outcomes compared to ceasing. Ceasing dexamphetamine during pregnancy was associated with increased odds of threatened abortion compared with continuing dexamphetamine. However, this is something that requires further investigation due to the small sample size, difficulties examining timing, and the inability to examine spontaneous abortions. The unexposed showed some benefits compared to the continuers, suggesting that where possible the cessation of dexamphetamine prior to pregnancy may be advisable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2024

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