Asthma is a common medical condition affecting women of reproductive age, yet many of the medications used to treat it are not well-studied for their safety in pregnancy and lactation, leading many asthma sufferers to discontinue their medications when they are expecting or nursing. Since uncontrolled asthma can lead to poor outcomes for both mom and baby, national experts led by Dr. Christina Chambers, one of our MotherToBaby specialists based at the University of California San Diego and an investigator for the Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS), have come together to detail an action plan for filling the information gaps about asthma medication safety in pregnancy and lactation.
Published online this week in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the action plan describes the proceedings from a workshop conducted in November 2019 and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Office of Research on Women’s Health in the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Women’s Health. The workshop assembled key stakeholders who were tasked with prioritizing, strategizing and mobilizing action steps on gaps in knowledge regarding asthma medication safety in pregnancy and lactation. The overarching goal of the workshop was to identify approaches that could be applied broadly to fill gaps in data about the safety of all medications and vaccines in pregnancy and lactation.
As a result of the workshop, a multi-stakeholder consortium on asthma medications in pregnancy and lactation has been developed. In order to address the evidence gaps and aid in populating medication labels with data that health providers can use to inform clinical decision making, the consortium developed a plan to systematically obtain necessary data in the most efficient and timely manner. The consortium also recommended the development of guidelines for the evaluation and management of asthma during pregnancy and lactation that adhere to the standards developed by the National Academy of Medicine, which would not only offer recommendations for patients, caregivers, and health providers at the point-of-care but also highlight specific evidence gaps that warrant further research. According to Chambers, “the need for high quality information regarding medication and vaccine safety in pregnancy and lactation is great – implementation of the recommendations stemming from this workshop will be a major step forward in addressing this health disparity.”
In partnership with VAMPSS, MotherToBaby conducts observational pregnancy studies to evaluate the safety of medications used to treat asthma and other health conditions. MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies accept both healthcare provider referrals as well as patient self-referrals. To learn more, visit: MotherToBaby.org/Studies.