Safety of beta-blocker and calcium channel blocker antihypertensive drugs in pregnancy: a Mendelian randomization study.

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Ardissino, Maddalena 
Slob, Eric AW 
Rajasundaram, Skanda 
Reddy, Rohin K 
Woolf, Benjamin 

BACKGROUND: Beta-blocker (BB) and calcium channel blocker (CCB) antihypertensive drugs are commonly used in pregnancy. However, data on their relative impact on maternal and foetal outcomes are limited. We leveraged genetic variants mimicking BB and CCB antihypertensive drugs to investigate their effects on risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and birthweight using the Mendelian randomization paradigm. METHODS: Genetic association estimates for systolic blood pressure (SBP) were extracted from summary data of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 757,601 participants. Uncorrelated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with SBP (p < 5 × 10-8) in BB and CCB drug target gene regions were selected as proxies for drug target perturbation. Genetic association estimates for the outcomes were extracted from GWASs on 4743 cases and 136,325 controls (women without a hypertensive disorder in pregnancy) for pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, 7676 cases and 130,424 controls (women without any pregnancy-related morbidity) for gestational diabetes, and 155,202 women (who have given birth at least once) for birthweight of the first child. All studies were in European ancestry populations. Mendelian randomization estimates were generated using the two-sample inverse-variance weighted model. RESULTS: Although not reaching the conventional threshold for statistical significance, genetically-proxied BB was associated with reduced risk of pre-eclampsia (OR per 10 mmHg SBP reduction 0.27, 95%CI 0.06-1.19, p = 0.08) and increased risk of gestational diabetes (OR per 10 mmHg SBP reduction 2.01, 95%CI 0.91-4.42, p = 0.08), and significantly associated with lower birthweight of first child (beta per 10 mmHg SBP reduction - 0.27, 95%CI - 0.39 to - 0.15, p = 1.90 × 10-5). Genetically-proxied CCB was associated with reduced risk of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (OR 0.62, 95%CI 0.43-0.89, p = 9.33 × 10-3), and was not associated with gestational diabetes (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.76-1.45, p = 0.76) or changes in birthweight of first child (beta per 10 mmHg SBP reduction 0.02, 95%CI - 0.04-0.07, p = 0.54). CONCLUSIONS: While BB and CCB antihypertensive drugs may both be efficacious for lowering blood pressure in pregnancy, this genetic evidence suggests that BB use may lower birthweight. Conversely, CCB use may reduce risk of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia without impacting gestational diabetes risk or birthweight. These data support further study on the effects of BBs on birthweight.

Research Article, Blood pressure, Beta-blocker, Calcium channel blocker, Mendelian randomization, Pregnancy
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00002/7)