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WOMEN'S GLOBAL NETWORK FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS NEWSLETTER. 1991 Jul-Sep; (36):21-2.A meeting in Singapore of principal investigators from 7 countries in a WHO collaborative study on hypertensive disease of pregnancy, also called pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, pointed out women at risk, suggested management guidelines, and summarized operations research projects involving administration of aspirin or calcium supplements. Hypertensive disease of pregnancy may ultimately end in fatal seizures. It is often marked by warning signs of severe headaches and facial and peripheral edema. A survey in Jamaica found that 0.72% of a group of 10,000 pregnant women had eclamptic seizures. These were the cause of almost one-third of all obstetric deaths in the period 1981-1983. 10.4% of the pregnant women had hypertension, and half of these had proteinuria. Associated risk factors were primigravida, age >30, abnormal weight gain, edema, 1+ proteinuria. A phased program of management guidelines for identifying and treating affected women is being instituted in half of Jamaica's parishes. An operations research project involves administration of low-dose aspirin vs. placebo. Another controlled trial, in Peru, is testing calcium supplements. A third trial in Argentina will compare 2 drug regimens.
In: Advances in international maternal and child health. Volume 7. 1987, edited by D.B. Jelliffe and E.F.P. Jelliffe. Oxford, England, Clarendon Press, 1987. 170-9.General principles of the WHO Essential Drug List (EDL) and the International Non-Proprietary Names (INN) list and their application to maternal and child health are summarized. 8 principles of good prescribing habits are introduced, such as careful dosing for infants, children, pregnant or lactating women, elderly, or those with liver or kidney disease. Most INN drug names are identical to the generic names used in the country of origin, but some are coined from common chemical or pharmacological stems. Drugs for pregnant women should be limited in number, and used with care since almost all cross the placenta and may not be tolerated by the fetus with its immature liver and kidneys. The most serious reason for restricting certain drug intake by pregnant women is the risk of teratogenicity, particularly in the 1st trimester. Potential teratogens include antiepileptics, barbiturates, cytotoxics, anticoagulants, and female sex hormones. Salicylates should not be taken near term. Opioid analgesics should not be used during labor. Drugs dangerous for the infant during breastfeeding include high dose oral contraceptives, the antithyroid drugs thiouracil and iodine, diazepam and lithium. Education and training in pharmacokinetics for personnel in maternal-child health should be included. Fixed combinations of drugs are not advisable: out of 220 drugs in the EDL, there are only 11 drug combinations.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION TECHNICAL REPORT SERIES. 1988; (770):1-63.This booklet incorporates both guidelines and criteria for establishing national programs for essential drugs, and a suggested list of approximately 250 essential drugs. It is important to emphasize that it is up to each country to decide whether to implement an essential drug policy, and how to adapt the list to their own changing needs. Guidelines for a national program include accepting recommendations by a local committee; using generic names and providing a cross index; providing a drug information sheet to accompany the list; regulation or constant testing of quality of the drugs; deciding on the level of expertise needed to prescribe each drug; administration of supply, storage and distribution. Choice of drugs is based on quality, bioavailability, safety, price and availability. Criteria for selection of drugs for primary health care involves evaluation of existing medical care systems, the national health infrastructure, trained personnel and available supplies, and the pattern of endemic disease. Each agent is listed by its international nonproprietary name (INN), is accompanied by substitutions and complementary drugs, and is described by its route of administration, dosage form and strength. Listings are by category and alphabetically.