Pregnancy outcome after cyclosporine therapy during pregnancy: a meta-analysis

Transplantation. 2001 Apr 27;71(8):1051-5. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200104270-00006.


Background: Cyclosporine (CsA) therapy must often be continued during pregnancy to maintain maternal health in such conditions as organ transplantation and autoimmune disease. This meta-analysis was performed to determine whether CsA exposure during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations, preterm delivery, or low birthweight.

Methods: Various health science databases were searched to identify relevant articles. Articles selected for inclusion in the study were required to be free of any apparent selection bias and report outcomes in at least 10 newborns exposed to CsA in utero, specifically commenting on the presence or absence of congenital malformations. Article selection and data extraction were performed by two independent reviewers, with adjudication in cases of disagreement. To assess risks of CsA exposure, a summary odds ratio was calculated. Prevalence of malformations was calculated as a rate for all cyclosporine-exposed live births and for the subgroups identified. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals were constructed for both the odds ratio and prevalence rates.

Results: Fifteen studies (6 with control groups of transplant without use of cyclosporine; total patients: 410) met the inclusion criteria for major malformations, 10 for preterm delivery (4 with control groups; total patients: 379) and 5 for low birth weight (1 with control groups; total number of patients: 314). The calculated odds ratio of 3.83 for malformations did not achieve statistical significance (CI 0.75-19.6). The overall prevalence of major malformations in the study population (4.1%) also did not vary substantially from that reported in the general population. OR for prematurity [1.52 (CI 1.00-2.32)] did not reach statistical significance although the overall prevalence rate was 56.3%. The OR for low birth weight [1.5 (CI 0.95-2.44 based on 1 study)].

Conclusions: CsA does not appear to be a major human teratogen. It may be associated with increased rates of prematurity. More research is needed to evaluate whether cyclosporine increases teratogenic risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Risk Factors


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine