Biologic Drugs – Are They Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

I’d like to spend a few minutes with you talking about a recent article that came out in one of our major gastroenterology journals in regard to the safety of biologic medicines for women who are pregnant so women are always concerned.

understandably about whether therapies they’re taking for their chronic illness are going to cause birth defects and one of the major medications used to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s but also other chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis psoriasis are the anti TNF agents.
so that includes Remicade and Humera Cinzia and symphony well those are very good at controlling symptoms but what do they do to the potential for birth defects in a pregnant woman. so this was a very nice study looking at all of the children born throughout the country of Sweden as well as Denmark and they were able to track all of those women who were treated with these medicines and exposed 90 days before conception and then 90 days after conception which is the time frame where birth defects would occur and it turns out that women who were exposed to any of these medications to treat their disease had no more of an increased risk for developer delivering a child who had a birth defect compared to women who also had the disease but not treated with anti TNF agents nor compared to the healthy controls.
so these were women who did not have any disease whatsoever so that’s incredibly reassuring so purists will say well maybe the absolute number didn’t go up but how about specific birth defects was there a signal that perhaps even though the absolute didn’t go up that maybe all of the side effect all of the birth defects that were seen were from the baby’s heart or from the baby’s bladder and it turns out that that wasn’t true either.
it turns out that it didn’t matter what their disease what the mother’s disease was either so what this means is that these therapies when used to control inflammation are not associated with an increased risk for birth defects in the children born to these moms.

 

so the implication is that we do not need to stop these therapies what a woman is contemplating conception nor should they be stopped when she finds out that she is pregnant.

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