UK Teratology Information Service 

UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS)


The UK Teratology Information Service (www.uktis.org) is commissioned by Public Health England to:

  • Provide evidence-based information and advice to UK health professionals
  • Conduct surveillance on the foetal effects of maternal exposure to medicines and other chemicals during pregnancy

The service was established in London in 1983 and subsequently transferred to be part of the NPIS (Newcastle Unit) in 1995.

Initially, almost all enquiries to the service were made by telephone, but in recent years UKTIS has concentrated on the provision of online information. For registered health professionals, detailed, fully referenced, clinically focused scientific monographs on the potential foetal effects of maternal exposure to over 400 medications and chemicals are available via TOXBASE. There is also open access to the summaries of these monographs via the UKTIS website (www.uktis.org). More recently, UKTIS has developed information leaflets designed for use by the general public and hosted on our public-facing website, bumps – best use of medicines in pregnancy (www.medicinesinpregnancy.org), which was launched in April 2014.


Why is drug and chemical exposure during pregnancy important?


Since the thalidomide tragedy in the 1960s there has been increased public awareness of the risks that some medicines, when taken during pregnancy, may harm the developing baby (i.e. act as teratogens). However, most women still take medicines during pregnancy, in many instances, before they realise they are pregnant.

Although the majority of babies are normal at birth, about 1 in 40 has a congenital malformation (‘birth defect’). In most cases, it is not known why these malformations occur. Therefore, if treatment is required during pregnancy, it is important that doctors are able to give accurate evidence based advice to women about the risks, if any, of prescribed medication or ofchemical or occupational exposure.


What services does the UKTIS provide?


The UKTIS provides a national service on all aspects of the toxicity of drugs and chemicals in pregnancy for health professionals. Information is provided via the telephone information service and also on-line via TOXBASE.

These services include:

  • Pre-conception advice for men and women concerning drug and chemical exposures
  • Provision and interpretation of background risks as well as specific information on drugs and chemicals for healthcare personnel
  • Proactive monitoring of specific hazards and risk assessment
  • Prospective follow up of selected cases to expand data for use in future enquiries

In April 2014 'bumps' (www.medicinesinpregnancy.org) was launched. This public facing website enables the online provision of openly accessible information that is consistent with that in UKTIS scientific monographs but summarised in a format suitable for members of the public.


When are the services available?


The UKTIS telephone service is available during normal working hours. Urgent advice can be obtained out of hours via the National Poisons Information Service.

Click the icon below to go to the UKTIS website: