OBJECTIVE - The objective of the study was to determine whether women alter their use of asthma medications during pregnancy.
STUDY DESIGN - Weekly asthma medication use was determined from prescription claims data in a cohort of 112,171 pregnant women aged 15 to 44 years who were continuously enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program prior to their singleton pregnancy and who delivered a singleton birth during 1995 to 2001. Change in asthma medication use was evaluated using generalized estimating equation analyses.
RESULTS - Women with asthma significantly (P < or = 0.0005) decreased their asthma medication use from 5 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. During the first trimester, there was a 23% decline in inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions, a 13% decline in short-acting beta-agonist prescriptions, and a 54% decline in rescue corticosteroid prescriptions.
CONCLUSIONS - Utilization of all categories of asthma medications decreased in early pregnancy, with the largest declines occurring for inhaled and rescue corticosteroids.