Immunosuppression in pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus

Claudio Ponticelli, Gabriella Moroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most pregnancies are successful in women with systemic lupus erythematosus, particularly if the disease is quiescent and there are no signs of active nephritis. There is no major impact of immunosuppression on maternal outcome. However, high doses of cyclosporine and glucocorticoids are used which may favor development of hypertension or preeclampsia. Some immunosuppressive drugs may exert toxic effects on the fetus. Glucocorticoids may cause small birth weight, and azathioprine and calcineurin inhibitors may be associated with lower birth weight, gestational age and prematurity. Cyclophosphamide may cause fetal malformation when given in the first trimester. Mycophenolate and leflunomide are teratogenic drugs and should be withdrawn before conception in case of programmed pregnancy or should be rapidly discontinued in case of unexpected pregnancy. Option counseling for pregnancy and correct use of immunosuppressive drugs are prerequisites for a successful pregnancy in women with lupus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-552
Number of pages4
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015


  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Immunosuppression
  • Lupus nephritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Teratogenic drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Medicine(all)


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