Planta Med 2013; 79(02): 97-101
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1328102
Biological and Pharmacological Activity
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Fetal and Neonatal Outcomes in Women Reporting Ingestion of Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) during Pregnancy[*]

June-Seek Choi
1  Korean Motherisk Program, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2  Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
,
Jung-Yeol Han
1  Korean Motherisk Program, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2  Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
,
Hyun-Kyong Ahn
1  Korean Motherisk Program, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2  Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
,
Hyun-Mee Ryu
2  Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
,
Moon-Young Kim
2  Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
,
Jin-Hoon Chung
2  Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cheil General Hospital & Womenʼs Healthcare Centre, Kwandong University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
,
Alejandro A. Nava-Ocampo
3  PharmaReasons – Pharmacological Research & Applied Solutions, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4  Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
5  Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
,
Gideon Koren
4  Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
5  Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
6  The Motherisk Program, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 25 May 2012
revised 25 October 2012

accepted 03 December 2012

Publication Date:
08 January 2013 (online)

Abstract

Maternal intake of licorice from dietary sources has been associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. We prospectively studied the outcome of 185 singleton pregnancies who took over-the-counter or naturopathic formulations containing licorice during their pregnancy, and 370 age-matched singleton pregnant controls that were not exposed to any potential teratogen. The indication in 56.8 % of the women taking licorice was for cough and cold control, with the maximum dose of 2104 mg/day and exposure occurring between the 4th day and 25th week of gestation. The rate of stillbirths was marginally higher among women who took licorice than those who did not (OR = 7.9; 95 % CI 0.9–71.5; p = 0.048), and significantly higher when compared to the general population in the Republic of Korea (OR = 13.3; 95 % CI 4.9–35.8; p < 0.001). Other fetal outcomes assessed in the study were similar between the two study groups, e.g., the OR of major malformations was 3.9 (95 % CI 0.4–43.5; p = 0.27). In conclusion, the present study suggests that licorice is not a major teratogen. However, whether licorice may increase the risk of stillbirths requires careful consideration in further studies with a larger sample size.

* This study was presented as a poster at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists; Baltimore, MD, USA, June 22–26, 2012.