Oral antifungal drug not linked with high risk of stillbirth

London: Maternal intake of oral antifungal drug during pregnancy is not linked to an increased risk of stillbirth, say researchers.

Previous studies had reported that the use of drug fluconazole in pregnancy was linked to an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, and suggested that it might also be associated with stillbirth.

However, the new study found no such evidence.

The results, published in the journal JAMA, showed that the use of fluconazole was not associated with increased risk of stillbirth or neonatal death, and the results were similar for different drug doses.

“The findings are reassuring but need to be interpreted considering other pregnancy safety issues with fluconazole, such as malformations, before recommendations to guide clinical decisions are made,” said lead author Bjorn Pasternak from Department of Medicine at Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

According to the researchers, intravaginal formulations of topical antifungal drugs are first-line treatment for vaginal candidiasis — vaginal yeast infection, but oral antifungal drugs like fluconazole are used in cases with severe symptoms, recurrent candidiasis episodes, or when topical treatment has failed.

“There are concerns based on animal data that oral fluconazole use in pregnancy may lead to foetal death. Given this concern and the paucity of studies in humans, we wanted to investigate the issue further,” Pasternak added.

In the study, the team analysed data from more than 10,000 women using fluconazole during pregnancy who were identified and compared it to data from 1,00,000 women who did not use the drug.