Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Statins damage fetal growth, study confirms

Pregnant women or those thinking of starting a family should avoid using statins, according to a letter published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Manchester have shown that statins are detrimental to the early development of the human placenta and, given that reduced placental growth is strongly correlated with poor pregnancy outcome, they recommended that statins should be avoided if pregnancy is suspected or confirmed.

The findings are particularly pertinent because the rapid rise in obesity, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes means such drugs are increasingly prescribed to women of reproductive age.

Current clinical guidelines contraindicate the use of statins during pregnancy as cholesterol is essential for normal fetal development. However, a recent study (British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2007;64:496) has suggested these detrimental effects may only be restricted to more lipophilic compounds (such as simvastatin) as there have been no reports of fetal congenital abnormalities associated with the more hydrophilic statins, such as pravastatin.

But, the Manchester study shows that even hydrophilic drugs can affect placental development. As well as modulating cholesterol levels, statins affect other chemicals in the body including the insulin-like growth factor system, which controls fetal growth.

Data from the study show that the effect of statins is not dependent on their lipophilicity in the placenta. This may be due to the expression of organic anion-transporting polypeptides, known to enhance the active uptake of statins.

Although the hydrophilic statins have not been reported to increase the incidence of fetal malformations, the study data suggest that they reduce placental size. This is associated with impaired nutrient uptake and intrauterine growth restriction which, the researchers say, is highly likely to result in a poor outcome.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10043874

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Pregnant woman

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.