Safety of clozapine use during pregnancy: Analysis of international pharmacovigilance data

Marieke M. Beex-Oosterhuis*, Amadou Samb, Eibert R. Heerdink, Patrick C. Souverein, Arthur R. Van Gool, Ronald H.B. Meyboom, Rob J. van Marum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Safety data on clozapine use during pregnancy are limited. The aim of this study was to determine disproportionality in case safety reports on adverse pregnancy outcomes between clozapine and other antipsychotics (OAP) used during pregnancy. Methods: We included all reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to antipsychotics registered in the World Health Organization global individual case safety report (ICSR) database (VigiBase) in children younger than 2 years and women aged 12-45 years. A case/non-case approach was used to evaluate the association between several pregnancy-related ADRs and clozapine exposure during pregnancy, using 2×2 contingency tables to investigate disproportionality and Standard MedDRA Queries to select cases. Clozapine exposure was defined as all ICSR-ADR combinations with clozapine as (one of) the suspected drug(s). Non-exposure was defined as all ICSR-ADR combinations with OAP as (one of) the suspected drug(s). Results: We identified 42 236 unique ICSR-ADR combinations related with clozapine exposure and 170 710 with OAP exposure. Of these, 494 and 4645 ICSR-ADR combinations involved adverse pregnancy outcomes related with clozapine exposure and OAP exposure respectively. Overall, no signal of disproportionate reporting associating clozapine with the studied adverse pregnancy outcomes was found compared with OAP exposure. Conclusion: Based on global pharmacovigilance data, we did not find any evidence that clozapine is less safe during pregnancy than OAP. Although this is not automatically equivalent to the relative safety of clozapine during pregnancy, these findings add to the convergence of proofs to allow final conclusions and decisions regarding the treatment of pregnant women with clozapine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-735
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

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