PURPOSE - Data about maternal recall accuracy for classifying early pregnancy medication exposure are meager. Nonetheless, studies often rely on recall to evaluate potential impact of pharmaceuticals on the developing fetus.
METHODS - Right from the Start is a community-based pregnancy cohort that enrolled women from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. A subset of 318 women participated in daily medication diaries initiated before conception (2006-2012). We examined nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as an example of a drug type that is difficult to study due to its intermittent and primarily over-the-counter use as well as its incomplete documentation in medical and pharmaceutical records. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) were assessed as a prescription medication comparator. Maternal recall of NSAID and SSRI use in early pregnancy was examined by comparing diary data (gold standard) to first-trimester interview.
RESULTS - Sensitivity and specificity for recall of NSAID exposure were 78.6% and 62.3%, respectively (kappa statistic: 0.41), with 72.3% agreement for exposure classification. Sensitivity and specificity for recall of SSRI exposure were 77.8% and 99.0%, respectively (kappa statistic: 0.79), with 97.8% agreement.
CONCLUSIONS - Our findings suggest the validity of maternal recall varies with medication type and prospective data collection should be prioritized when studying early pregnancy drug exposures.
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