[Biologics during pregnancy and breast--feeding]

Z Rheumatol. 2010 Nov;69(9):780-7. doi: 10.1007/s00393-010-0640-2.
[Article in German]


Over the past years, biological therapies, especially anti-TNF-α antibody therapy has emerged as a treatment approach in patients who have failed to achieve or maintain remission with tradional DMARDs. Women suffering from inflammatory arthritis may need to continue therapy throughout pregnancy and/or in the lactation period, hence the increased concern over the safety of antirheumatic drugs during pregnancy. Anti-TNF agents fall within the US FDA category B concerning fetal risk, indicating that no adequate and well-controlled studies have been conducted in pregnant or lactating women. However, in the last decade, numerous case series and registry data of pregnancies exposed to anti-TNF therapy have accumulated in the literature. According to these data, TNF inhibitor therapies appear to be safe in pregnancy, since no increased risk of malformations has been demonstrated. Ceasing therapy after conception should be considered, but treatment may be continued during pregnancy when indicated.The use of these agents is likely compatible with breast-feeding. The extent of fetal risk is not clarified for exposure to other biologics, such as Rituximab.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Biological Products / adverse effects*
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / chemically induced*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Biological Products
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha