Fertility, pregnancy and childbirth in patients with multiple sclerosis: impact of disease-modifying drugs

CNS Drugs. 2015 Mar;29(3):207-20. doi: 10.1007/s40263-015-0238-y.


In recent decades, pregnancy-related issues in multiple sclerosis (MS) have received growing interest. MS is more frequent in women than in men and typically starts during child-bearing age. An increasing number of disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) for the treatment of MS are becoming available. Gathering information on their influences on pregnancy-related issues is of crucial importance for the counselling of MS patients. As for the immunomodulatory drugs (interferons and glatiramer acetate), accumulating evidence points to the relative safety of pregnancy exposure in terms of maternal and foetal outcomes. In case of higher clinical disease activity before pregnancy, these drugs could be continued until conception. As for the 'newer' drugs (fingolimod, natalizumab, teriflunomide, dimethyl fumarate and alemtuzumab), the information is more limited. Whereas fingolimod and teriflunomide are likely associated with an increased risk of foetal malformations, the effects of natalizumab, dimethyl fumarate and alemtuzumab still need to be ascertained. This article provides a review of the available information on the use of DMDs during pregnancy, with a specific focus on fertility, foetal development, delivery and breast-feeding.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Feeding
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Parturition / drug effects
  • Parturition / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*


  • Immunologic Factors