Topical Use of Corticosteroids by Pregnant Women Appears Not to be Associated with Pregnancy Outcomes

The use of topical corticosteroids by pregnant women does not appear to be associated with pregnancy outcomes including orofacial cleft, low birth weight, preterm delivery, fetal death, low Apgar score and mode of delivery, according to a study by Ching-Chi Chi, M.D., M.M.S., of the Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taiwan, and colleagues.

The study included 2,658 pregnant women exposed to topical corticosteroids and 7,246 pregnant women not exposed.

While the primary analysis showed no associations between topical corticosteroid exposure and maternal outcomes, an exploratory analysis showed an increased risk of low birth weight when the dispensed amount of potent or very potent topical corticosteroids exceeded 300 grams during the entire pregnancy, the results suggest.

“This study reassuringly showed no associations of maternal topical corticosteroid exposure with orofacial cleft, preterm delivery, fetal death, low Apgar score and mode of delivery,” the authors conclude. “With this study and all available evidence taken together, the risk of low birth weight seems to correlate with the quantity of topical corticosteroid exposure.”

(JAMA Dermatol. Published September 4, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5768.