Can we ensure the safe use of known human teratogens?: The iPLEDGE test case.

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.
Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.62). 02/2007; 30(1):5-15. DOI: 10.2165/00002018-200730010-00002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Minimising the public health burden of isotretinoin-induced teratogenicity has been a challenge for 24 years, the duration of availability of isotretinoin in the US for the treatment of severe, recalcitrant nodular acne. Although the teratogenicity of this drug is well known and risk-management programmes had been implemented, preventable fetal exposures continued to occur, largely as a result of the lack of sufficient controls within the programmes themselves. The manufacturers of isotretinoin implemented a new risk-management programme, iPLEDGE, in March 2006. iPLEDGE is a comprehensive distribution system that includes mandatory registration of patients, healthcare providers, pharmacies, and wholesalers. It allows real-time linkage of pregnancy-test results for verification prior to the dispensing of isotretinoin. Although the challenges of implementing a closed distribution system for a very widely used medication have been extensive, the potential public health benefits from preventing fetal exposure to isotretinoin are substantial.

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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Isotretinoin, an effective anti-acne therapy, is a known teratogen that is strictly regulated through the iPLEDGE program. However, since this program has not significantly reduced rates of pregnancies exposed to isotretinoin, new strategies for reducing rates of isotretinoin-exposed pregnancies are needed. OBJECTIVE To explore women's experiences with counseling about isotretinoin risk reduction. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Structured interviews were conducted between January and September 2012. Two independent coders performed content analysis using a grounded theory approach. The study participants were 16 women who had used isotretinoin to treat severe skin disease and who were recruited from a single urban community via flyers displayed on college campuses, at dermatology clinics, and at student health facilities. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Perceptions of isotretinoin-associated risks and understanding of ways teratogenic risks can be avoided. RESULTS Participants clearly understood that isotretinoin is teratogenic but had less understanding of contraceptive methods that effectively prevent pregnancy. Most described the counseling they received as anxiety provoking. Few were counseled about highly effective reversible contraceptives such as the subdermal implant or intrauterine contraception; most counseling focused on oral contraceptives. Women cited multiple influences on their contraceptive choices, including friends, family, physicians, the internet, and other media; however, some expressed concerns about the accuracy of these sources of information. For many, iPLEDGE was their first introduction to contraception. When presented with evidence-based information on the relative effectiveness of available contraceptives, participants expressed surprise that this was not part of the iPLEDGE materials. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Since few clinicians provide women information on highly effective (ie, intrauterine or subdermal) contraceptives, the iPLEDGE program increases anxiety about isotretinoin more than it helps women feel protected from the teratogenic risks of isotretinoin.
    11/2013; 150(4). DOI:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.6862
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    ABSTRACT: The major concern associated with isotretinoin treatment is its high teratogenic potential. Therefore, ensuring use of contraception while on therapy is an important strategy for at-risk patients and has been emphasized in all risk management programs. iPledge, the latest and most rigorous isotretinoin program, requires, among other stipulations, monthly assessments of contraceptive use for patients undergoing isotretinoin treatment. The purpose of this study is to evaluate isotretinoin usage patterns and assess concomitant use of isotretinoin and contraceptives before and after iPledge. Female patients aged 13-45 years with a new prescription for isotretinoin products during 2004-2008 were identified in the IMS Health longitudinal prescription claims database. Monthly concomitant use of isotretinoin and contraceptives was estimated. Segmented regression analysis of interrupted time series data was used to assess changes in monthly proportion of concomitant use in the 24 months preceding versus following iPledge implementation. The number of isotretinoin prescriptions decreased after iPledge implementation. A small but significant increase in monthly proportion of patients concomitantly using isotretinoin and contraceptive therapies was observed immediately after iPledge implementation (1.3%, p-value = 0.02), particularly among younger patients (2.5%, p-value < 0.01). No changes in the proportion of concomitancy over time (i.e. slope) between the periods before and after iPledge implementation were observed. The findings of this pharmacy prescription claims-based study suggest a small increase in concomitant use of isotretinoin and contraceptives coincident with the time of implementation of iPledge, particularly among younger women. Published 2013. This article is a U. S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
    Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 12/2013; 22(12). DOI:10.1002/pds.3481 · 3.17 Impact Factor