Anti-tumor necrosis factor medications (anti-TNFs) are effective in controlling chronic inflammatory diseases, but some physicians recommend that their patients discontinue them during pregnancy. In an Arthritis & Rheumatology analysis of 528 pregnancies of women exposed to certolizumab pegol (CZP), an anti-TNF approved for treatment of rheumatic diseases and/or Crohn's disease, 85% of pregnancies resulted in live births, and the rate of major congenital malformations (2%) was similar to those reported for the general population in the United States and Europe.
These findings are reassuring for women of childbearing age affected by chronic inflammatory diseases considering treatment with CZP who wish to become or are pregnant.
"In this large study of pregnancies, it appears that taking CZP during pregnancy did not increase the chances for pregnancy loss, preterm birth, or birth defects," said lead author Dr. Megan Clowse, of Duke University Medical Center. "Continuing anti-TNFs in pregnancy has been recommended for many years for women with Crohn's Disease, and these data suggest that it is also safe for women with other inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis."