Biologics During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Among Women With Rheumatic Diseases: Safety Clinical Evidence on the Road

Asmaa Beltagy, Azin Aghamajidi, Laura Trespidi, Wally Ossola, Pier Luigi Meroni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Females are generally more affected by autoimmune diseases, a fact that underlines the relationship with pregnancy and the safety of anti-rheumatic drugs in pregnancy and lactation. Biologic therapies are increasingly prescribed to treat and maintain remission in a significant number of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The experience with the use of biologics during gestation is extremely lacking because of the observational nature of the available studies and the difficulty in designing proper clinical trials in pregnancy. Among the studied biologics, more information was published on TNFα inhibitors and, in particular, on their potential passage through the placenta and impact on the fetus. Currently, a fragment of anti-TNFα monoclonal IgG, certolizumab pegol, is considered safe with almost no placental transfer. Subsequent observations are suggesting a comparable safety for the soluble TNFα receptor etanercept. Another biologic, eculizumab, the anti-C5a antibody used to treat complement-mediated microangiopathies, is also considered safe due to the unique engineered IgG2/4κ formulation that limits its passage through the placental barrier. Still, long-term data about children born to women treated with biologics in pregnancy are not attainable. Data on breastfeeding are currently available for several biologics. This article reviews the literature available about which drugs are considered safe during pregnancy and lactation, which are not, and on future prospects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number621247
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 11 2021

Keywords

  • biologics
  • breastfeeding
  • conception
  • pregnancy
  • rheumatic diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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