Early Discontinuation of Infliximab in Pregnant Women With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Truta B1, Leeds IL1,2, Canner JK2, Efron JE2, Fang SH2, Althumari A1, Safar B2. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 Oct 31. pii: izz250. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izz250. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


OBJECTIVES: Early discontinuation of infliximab (IFX) in pregnant women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) decreases the intrauterine fetal exposure to the drug but may increase the risk of disease flaring leading to poor pregnancy outcomes. In this study, we assessed the impact of early IFX discontinuation on mother's disease activity and on their at-risk babies.

METHODS: In a retrospective study of the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan database from 2011 to 2015, we compared IBD patients who discontinued IFX more than 90 days ("early IFX") with those who discontinue IFX 90 days or less ("late IFX) before delivery. We evaluated the risk of flaring, defined by new steroid prescriptions, visits to emergency room and/or hospital admissions, the pregnancy outcomes, and the at-risk babies.

RESULTS: After IFX discontinuation, the early IFX group (68 deliveries) required significantly more steroid prescriptions than the late IFX group (318 deliveries) to control disease activity (P < 001). There were more preterm babies in the early IFX group (P < 049), but no difference within the 2 groups was noticed in the rate of intrauterine growth retardation, small for gestation, and stillborn babies. Similarly, there was no increase in acute respiratory infections, development delays, and congenital malformations in babies of the mothers from the late IFX vs early IFX groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Steroid-free remission IBD mothers are at risk for disease flares and preterm babies when IFX is discontinued early in pregnancy. Continuation of IFX seems to be safe at least for the first year of life.

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