Two print publications that advise on the safety and risk of drugs in pregnancy and lactation are recognized as being among the leaders in the field: Drugs in pregnancy and lactation: a reference guide to fetal and neonatal risk by Gerald G. Briggs, Roger K. Freeman, Sumner J. Yaffe (2011) and Medication safety in pregnancy and breastfeeding by Gideon Koren (2007).
These texts, available from the College Library, are standouts among a substantial number of print publications on the topic. Offerings for mobile applications are much fewer in number but two are particularly worthy of consideration. Regarding drugs in lactation, the US National Institutes of Health maintains a publicly available, peer-reviewed database, LactMed, available both on the web and as a free app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android.
LactMed provides information on adverse effects in nursing infants and suggests therapeutic alternatives. For assessing drugs in pregnancy, credible and detailed mobile apps are very few and far between. REPROTOX is a mobile app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android from the Reproductive Toxicology Center, a US nonprofit foundation that provides clinically useful and scientifically supported risk assessments.
It has a limiting factor: it costs $200 per year for an individual membership. REPROTOX contains a “quick take” that succinctly states the degree of risk a drug poses in pregnancy followed by a detailed literature summary with a bibliography. The depth and comprehensiveness of print resources in this field are not yet matched in mobile technology, but stay tuned. We will keep you posted on new developments.
—Karen MacDonell, Robert Melrose, Judy Neill
This article is the opinion of the Library of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.