Nitrosatable drug exposure during pregnancy and risk of stillbirth

Anne Marie Ladehoff Thomsen; Zeyan Liew; Anders Hammerich Riis; Leslie Thomas Stayner; Cecilia Høst Ramlau-Hansen; Torben Sigsgaard; Jørn Olsen


Nitrosatable drugs can react with nitrite in the stomach and form N-nitroso compounds. Exposure to nitrosatable drugs has been associated with congenital malformations and preterm birth, but use during pregnancy as a cause of fetal death is not well-known. We examined if prenatally nitrosatable drug use is associated with risk of stillbirth. 


A nationwide cohort was conducted using 554 844 women with singleton and first recorded pregnancies regardless of previous pregnancy history from the Danish Medical Birth Register from 1996 to 2015. Exposure was recorded by use of the Danish National Prescription Register and defined as women who had redeemed a prescribed nitrosatable drug in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy. The reference group was women with no redeemed prescribed nitrosatable drug in this time period. We categorized nitrosatable drugs as secondary amines, tertiary amines, and amides. Cox hazard regression was used to estimate crude and adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for stillbirth. 


Among the 84 720 exposed women, 348 had a stillbirth compared with 1690 stillbirths among the 470 124 unexposed women. Women who used any prescribed nitrosatable drug were more likely to have a stillbirth compared with unexposed women (aHRs 1.24; 95% CI, 1.03-1.49). 


Nitrosatable drug use during the first 22 weeks of pregnancy might increase risk of stillbirth. The findings should be interpreted cautiously because of important unmeasured factors that might influence the observed association, including maternal vitamin C intake, dietary, and other sources of nitrate/nitrite intake.

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Udgivelsesform Videnskabelige artikler
År 2019
Udgiver Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety


Anne Marie Ladehoff Thomsen

Anne Marie Ladehoff Thomsen

+45 7841 4365 / +45 2441 2935


Anne Marie Ladehoff Thomsen