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Janssen NM, Genta MS. The Effects of Immunosuppressive and Anti-inflammatory Medications on Fertility, Pregnancy, and Lactation. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(5):610–619. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Intern Med.-ISSN-0003-9926-160-5-ira90005
Many rheumatic diseases affect women of childbearing age, and the medications used to treat these diseases may affect conception, pregnancy, fetal development, and lactation. Physicians who care for these women need to be aware of the potential adverse effects of these medications, and which medications can be used safely prior to conception and during pregnancy and lactation. Although reviews of individual classes of medications are available, there is no practical and comprehensive review that summarizes all of this information, and includes anticoagulant drugs and 2 recently approved drugs for rheumatoid arthritis. Women who take cytotoxic drugs should be informed of the risks of impaired fertility and congenital malformations, and must use effective methods of contraception. During pregnancy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents may be used until the last 6 weeks, and low to moderate doses of corticosteroids are safe throughout pregnancy. Among the disease-modifying agents, sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine treatment may be maintained. Cytotoxic drugs may be used after the first trimester to treat life-threatening disease. During lactation, prednisone, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine may be used cautiously. Women using heparin for treatment of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome should take measures to prevent bone loss. Men taking methotrexate, sulfasalazine, cyclosporine, azathioprine, or leflunomide should be apprised of the possibilities of infertility and teratogenicity.
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