The limitations of some European healthcare databases for monitoring the effectiveness of Pregnancy Prevention Programmes as risk minimisation measures

Rachel Charlton, Vincenzo Bettoli, H Jens Bos, Anders Engeland, Ester Garne, Rosa Gini, Anne Hansen, Lolkje de Jong-van den Berg, Sue Jordan, Kari Klungsøyr, Amanda Neville, Anna Pierini, Aurora Puccini, Marlene Sinclair, Daniel Thayer, Helen Dolk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: Pregnancy prevention programmes (PPPs) exist for some medicines known to be highly teratogenic. It is increasingly recognised that the impact of these risk minimisation measures requires periodic evaluation. This study aimed to assess the extent to which some of the data needed to monitor the effectiveness of PPPs may be present in European healthcare databases. Methods: An inventory was completed for databases contributing to EUROmediCAT capturing pregnancy and prescription data in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy (Tuscany/Emilia Romagna), Wales and the rest of the UK, to determine the extent of data collected that could be used to evaluate the impact of PPPs. Results: Data availability varied between databases. All databases could be used to identify the frequency and duration of prescriptions to women of childbearing age from primary care, but there were specific issues with availability of data from secondary care and private care. To estimate the frequency of exposed pregnancies, all databases could be linked to pregnancy data, but the accuracy of timing of the start of pregnancy was variable, and data on pregnancies ending in induced abortions were often not available. Data availability on contraception to estimate compliance with contraception requirements was variable and no data were available on pregnancy tests. Conclusion: Current electronic healthcare databases do not contain all the data necessary to fully monitor the effectiveness of PPP implementation, and thus, special data collection measures need to be instituted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number4
Early online date11 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018



  • Electronic health records
  • Isotretinoin
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy prevention programme
  • Teratogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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