EXPOSURE TO PHOSPHINE IN PREGNANCY

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(Date of issue: September 2017, Version: 1.2)

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Summary

Phosphine is an extremely toxic, colourless gas, odourless when pure, with an odour of garlic or decaying fish when impure.  The most common uses for phosphine are as an insecticide or rodenticide.  It is also used as a dopant in the semiconductor industry.  Phosphine gas may also be released as a by-product of illicit methamfetamine production.
 
The only published data relating to phosphine exposure in pregnancy demonstrated no significantly increased risk of spontaneous abortion in a small retrospective case-control study.  No further data concerning phosphine exposure in pregnancy are currently available.  As a result, a full assessment of the risk exposure in pregnancy poses to the developing fetus is not possible.

One report shows a slightly increased risk of central nervous system or neurobehavioral defects in the children of fathers exposed to phosphine.

Following phosphine exposure in a pregnant patient, maternal toxicity is likely to be a major determinant of risk to the fetus.  There are no specific guidelines regarding the treatment of phosphine poisoning during pregnancy.  Management of the pregnant patient should be the same as for the non-pregnant patient.

Where exposure to phosphine has occurred, even in cases which did not result in maternal toxicity, enhanced fetal monitoring may be warranted.  Discussion with UKTIS is recommended for all cases.
                      
This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use full UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version. The summaries of these monographs are openly available on UKTIS.org.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at www.toxbase.org.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org or UKTIS.org to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.