Potential reduction in neural tube defects associated with use of metafolin-fortified oral contraceptives in the United States
Objective - To estimate the potential reduction of neural tube defects (NTDs) through the use of Metafolin-fortified oral contraceptives (OCs) in the United States.
Study Design - A population-based decision analytic model was developed to estimate the benefits of increased red blood cell (RBC) folate levels through the use of Metafolin-fortified OCs on NTD risk during pregnancy. We modeled women who began the year taking Metafolin-fortified or traditional OCs. Folate levels were derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and from clinical trial data. NTD risk was estimated by applying a published risk equation to respective RBC folate levels.
Results - The number of estimated NTD cases declined by 23.7 to 31.4%, depending on median baseline folate levels in women taking a fortified OC compared with taking a traditional OC.
Conclusion - Metafolin-fortified OCs have the potential to reduce the number of folate dependent NTDs among current and recent OC users.