Prescribing of nicotine replacement therapy in and around pregnancy: a population-based study using primary care data.

British Journal of General Practice

PubMedID: 25179069

Dhalwani NN, Szatkowski L, Coleman T, Fiaschi L, Tata LJ. Prescribing of nicotine replacement therapy in and around pregnancy: a population-based study using primary care data. Br J Gen Pract. 2014;64(626):e554-60.
BACKGROUND
Licensing arrangements for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the UK were broadened in 2005 to allow prescribing to pregnant smokers. However, estimates of NRT prescribing in pregnant females in the UK are currently lacking.

AIM
To assess trends in NRT prescribing around pregnancy, and variation in prescribing by maternal characteristics.

DESIGN AND SETTING
Population-based descriptive study using pregnancy data from The Health Improvement Network primary care database, 2001-2012.

METHOD
NRT prescriptions were identified during pregnancy and in the 9 months before and after. Annual prescribing prevalence was calculated. Logistic regression was used to assess females' likelihood of receiving prescriptions by maternal characteristics.

RESULTS
Of 388 142 pregnancies studied, NRT was prescribed in 7551 for an average duration of 2 weeks. The prescribing prevalence of NRT increased from 0.03% (0.7% in smokers) in 2001 to 2.6% (11.4% in smokers) in 2005, after which it remained stable. Prescribing prevalence of NRT before and after pregnancy was half the prevalence during pregnancy. The odds of prescribing NRT during pregnancy in smokers increased with socioeconomic deprivation (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.15 to 1.45 in the most compared with the least deprived group). Prescribing was 33% higher in pregnant smokers with asthma (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.22 to 1.45) and mental illness (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.23 to 1.44) compared with smokers without these diagnoses.

CONCLUSION
NRT prescribing is higher during pregnancy compared with before and after, and is higher in smokers from more socioeconomically deprived groups, those with asthma or those diagnosed mental illness.