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Harish Raja, Eric L Matteson, Clement J Michet, Justine R Smith, Jose S Pulido; Safety of Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2012;1(2):6. doi: 10.1167/tvst.1.2.6.
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Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors are useful in the treatment of numerous inflammatory and immunologic disorders. Since many of these conditions occur in women of childbearing age, safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding is of considerable importance.
This paper is a review of the literature on the safety of TNF inhibitors during pregnancy and breastfeeding published between 2001 and 2011.
TNF inhibitors do not appear to be associated with a high risk of teratogenicity or intrauterine death. However, a small magnitude increase in risk cannot be ruled out given the paucity of data on the subject. Although TNF inhibitor use may be associated with a higher rate of preterm delivery, this may in fact be due to an active, underlying disease. Therefore, the decision to use these medications should be made on a case-by-case basis. If the disease cannot be managed with first line agents, TNF inhibitors may be helpful in reducing the number of disease exacerbations. Nevertheless, when using TNF inhibitors, it is prudent to discontinue treatment around the third trimester when transfer across the placenta is greatest and to restart postpartum.
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