IMR Press / CEOG / Volume 48 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.31083/j.ceog.2021.03.2331
Open Access Original Research
Pregnancy outcomes after inadvertent exposure of anti-obesity drugs during pregnancy
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1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Korean MotherSafe Counselling Centre, 10380 Goyang City, Korea
*Correspondence: (Jung Yeol Han)
Clin. Exp. Obstet. Gynecol. 2021, 48(3), 514–522;
Submitted: 21 October 2020 | Revised: 26 February 2021 | Accepted: 5 March 2021 | Published: 15 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity in pregnancy: risks and management)
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Backgrounds: To improve health, an increasing number of adults are attempting to lose weight. Moreover, the number of childbearing women targeting weight loss has increased, with a surge in pregnant women exposed to anti-obesity drugs. This study aimed to evaluate the ingredients, types, and trends of anti-obesity drugs and pregnancy outcomes among the exposures of anti-obesity drugs. Additionally, we reviewed their teratogenicity in literature. Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study and recruited pregnant women exposed to anti-obesity drugs in the Motherisk Database, from 2012 to 2018. We determined the frequency and type of anti-obesity drugs used. Furthermore, we compared the annual change in the frequency of anti-obesity drugs with that of total pregnancies. Overall, 30,704 pregnant women were enrolled during the study period. Results: The rate of pregnant women exposed to anti-obesity drugs was 4.8% (1487/30,704). The rate of pregnant women exposed to anti-obesity drugs significantly increased from 3.7% in 2012 to 7.4% in 2018 (p < 0.001). The most frequently used drugs were phentermine (33.0%) and phendimetrazine (25.9%). The number of pregnant women exposed to anti-obesity drugs has recently increased. There is no difference in pregnancy outcomes between the exposure and the un-exposure of anti-obesity drug except that birth weight and large for gestational age are significantly larger in the exposure group. Additionally, there are no difference of abnormalities between the exposure (3.1%) and the un-exposure of anti-obesity drugs (3.7%). Discussion: This study showed that the exposure of anti-obesity drug profoundly increased during the study period and there exist known teratogenic drugs. Therefore, childbearing women should be concerned with preventing teratogenic effects following anti-obesity drug exposure during pregnancy. Physicians should warn childbearing women about potential dangers of anti-obesity drug.

Anti-obesity drugs
Fig. 1.
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