Using biological therapies during pregnancy is dangerous for the baby? According to a study at the University of California in San Diego, the answer is no. Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases do not increase the risk that the child develops opportunistic infections.
Pneumonia, meningitis and tuberculosis are some of the best-known opportunistic infections. The researchers wanted to make sure that biological therapies did not make it easier for them to appear. The biological drugs, in fact, keep the immune system in check so as not to attack the organism itself. The fear was that the process exposed the fetus to more infections.
The study analyzes data collected from 2004 and 2016, covering more than 1,000 pregnancies. Scientists have analyzed data from pregnant women with autoimmune diseases treated with biological therapies. For each patient, they marked the drug intake dates, taking notice of any interruptions in pregnancy therapy.
The data included 502 pregnancies of women with rheumatoid arthritis subjected to biological therapies. Of the pregnancies analyzed, furthermore, 231 were women affected by the disease who had stopped the therapies. The control group, on the other hand, focused on 423 pregnancies.
After delivery, the researchers collected data on the rate of infant infections. They have focused on serious infections such as sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, and others. There is thus a slight difference between the different groups. The infections affected: 4% of the children of those who did not stop the therapies; 2.6% of the children of women who had stopped the therapies; 2.1% of control group children.
The study shows that therapies do not significantly increase the risk of serious infections. True, however, there are still no studies on medium-sized infections.