Safety of Alprazolam Use in Pregnancy in Western Australia: A Retrospective Cohort Study Using Linked Health Data

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The use of alprazolam in pregnancy can adversely affect maternal and neonatal health. This study examined neonatal outcomes following exposure to alprazolam in pregnancy. Women prescribed alprazolam during pregnancy (n = 48) between 2014 and 2018 were identified from routinely-collected state administrative prescribing records and perinatal data. Two comparison groups of women; 1) prescribed alprazolam outside of pregnancy (n = 96) and 2) women never prescribed alprazolam (n = 96) were also identified. The health of women and their children was examined using administrative hospital, mortality and perinatal data and compared to the comparison groups using generalized linear models. Prenatal alprazolam exposure was not associated with a reduction in average birth weight or gestational age. However, neonates prenatally exposed to alprazolam were more likely be classified as having low birth weight for gestational age compared with alprazolam comparison group (OR: 4.46, 95% CI: 1.54-12.95) and the non-alprazolam comparison group (OR: 3.27, 95% CI: 1.22-8.79). There were no cases of perinatal mortality or floppy baby syndrome in alprazolam-exposed neonates. While the use of alprazolam during pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of severe adverse neonatal outcomes (e.g. perinatal mortality), it was associated with neonates being born with a low birth weight for gestational age.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jul 2023

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