Interferon-beta exposure during first trimester is safe in women with multiple sclerosis-A prospective cohort study from the German Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy Registry

Mult Scler. 2016 May;22(6):801-9. doi: 10.1177/1352458516634872. Epub 2016 Feb 26.


Background: Available data suggest that pregnancy exposure to interferon-beta might result in lower mean birth weight and preterm birth.

Objective: To determine the effect of interferon-beta exposure during pregnancy on pregnancy outcomes in multiple sclerosis patients.

Methods: We compared the pregnancy outcomes of women exposed to interferon-beta with pregnancies unexposed to disease-modifying therapies. Women were enrolled into the German Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy Registry. A standardized questionnaire was administered during pregnancy and postpartum. Detailed information on course of multiple sclerosis and pregnancy, concomitant medications, delivery, and outcome of pregnancy was obtained.

Results: We collected data on 251 pregnancies exposed to interferon-beta and 194 unexposed to disease-modifying therapies. In all, 246 (98.01%) women discontinued interferon-beta treatment during first trimester. No differences regarding mean birth weight (exposed: 3272.28 ± 563.61 g; unexposed: 3267.46 ± 609.81 g), mean birth length (exposed: 50.73 ± 3.30 cm; unexposed: 50.88 ± 3.45 cm), preterm birth (p = 0.187), spontaneous abortion (p = 0.304), and congenital anomalies (p = 0.197) were observed between the two groups.

Conclusions: Interferon-beta exposure during early pregnancy does not influence the mean birth weight, risk of preterm birth, or other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Our study provides further reassurance that interferon-beta treatment can be safely continued up until women become pregnant.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; disease-modifying therapies; interferon-beta; pregnancy; pregnancy outcomes; safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced* / epidemiology
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / chemically induced*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight / drug effects*
  • Body Height / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interferon-beta / adverse effects*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First / drug effects*
  • Premature Birth / chemically induced*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interferon-beta