The use of biological drugs in psoriasis patients prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and lactation: a review of current clinical guidelines

Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2020 Dec;37(6):821-830. doi: 10.5114/ada.2020.102089. Epub 2021 Jan 6.


Introduction: Information on the possibility of using biological drugs in psoriasis patients planning to conceive, patients who are pregnant or during lactation is limited.

Aim: Presenting recommendations published in clinical guidelines regarding the use of biological drugs - adalimumab, brodalumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, guselkumab, infliximab, ixekizumab, risankizumab, secukinumab, tildrakizumab, and ustekinumab, by psoriasis patients in the period of planning pregnancy, during pregnancy or during lactation.

Material and methods: The paper was based on a comprehensive review of over 40 websites of HTA agencies, dermatological associations worldwide and medical databases (PubMed, Embase), the objective of which was to identify clinical guidelines relating to biological treatment of women of childbearing potential, published after 2018, which used GRADE - a system for rating the quality of a body of evidence.

Findings: Certolizumab pegol is recommended in women who are planning to conceive. Furthermore, guidelines indicate other TNF-α inhibitors as possible treatment. Certolizumab pegol is also recommended as first-line treatment in pregnant patients. Furthermore, for trimesters 2 and 3, guidelines allow using other TNF-α inhibitors. Treatment with secukinumab and ustekinumab should be discontinued when planning pregnancy or when pregnancy was diagnosed. Biological treatment during pregnancy and lactation (continuation or initiation of treatment) can be used only after an analysis of risks and benefits has been conducted.

Conclusions: TNF-α inhibitors seem to be the safest and most researched biological drugs used in psoriasis treatment of patients planning to conceive, during pregnancy or lactation. Given its non-existent or minimal placental permeability, most likely the safest alternative is certolizumab pegol.

Keywords: biological treatment; lactation; pregnancy; psoriasis; tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review