IBD often affects patients during their peak reproductive years. Several drugs are available for the treatment of IBD and new drugs are continuously in the pipeline. As long-term administration of medications is often necessary, the safety of drug therapy during pregnancy and breast-feeding needs to be considered in daily clinical practice. The aim of this Review is to summarize the latest information concerning the safety of medications used to treat IBD during pregnancy and lactation, as well as their effect on fertility. Although only thalidomide and methotrexate are absolutely contraindicated during pregnancy and breast-feeding, alternatives to ciprofloxacin, natalizumab and sodium phosphate should also be considered for pregnant women. Breast-feeding is also discouraged while on treatment with ciclosporin, metronidazole and ciprofloxacin. However, therapy with 5-aminosalicylic acid preparations, glucocorticoids, thiopurines and TNF inhibitors are acceptable during pregnancy and lactation. Pregnant women who have symptomatic IBD or who require therapy should have the opportunity to discuss any associated risks to their pregnancy and infant with the appropriate consultants. By ensuring that the patient and her family are informed, the clinical outcome might be optimized.
Journal review article
Nature Reviews. Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2013, Vol 11, Issue 2, p. 116-127