Online first

Acta Reumatológica Portuguesa - Online First: 2019-12-26
Original article

Biologic therapy use and pregnancy outcomes in women with immune-mediated inflammatory rheumatic diseases

Brites L, Madeira N, Rodrigues J, Marona J, Martins N, Águeda A, Freitas R, Neto A, Capela S, Sequeira G, Ganhão S, Duarte C, Santiago M, Santos MJ


Introduction: Concerns about the side effects and interactions of biologic drugs with reproduction and pregnancy have been always an issue between experts. The safety of these therapies during conception and/or pregnancy is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to assess the exposure to biologic drugs before and/or during conception/pregnancy and the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with rheumatic diseases. Methods: We conducted a cohort study of pregnancies reported in women with immune-mediated rheumatic diseases registered at the Rheumatic Diseases Portuguese Registry ( and exposed to biologic drugs. Data concerning fetal and maternal outcomes (live birth, spontaneous abortion, neonatal and intrauterine death, intrauterine growth restriction, premature delivery, congenital malformations, neonatal lupus, voluntary or medical interruption of pregnancy, disease flares and need for treatment with other drugs) was extracted. Results: In total, 69 pregnancies from 56 females were analysed, the majority with the diagnosis of spondyloarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. In almost half of the cases (n=32, 46.4%) the biologic was stopped for pregnancy planning, in 31 cases (44.9%) it was stopped when pregnancy was diagnosed and in 6 pregnancies (8.7%) biologic therapy was maintained, at least until the 2nd trimester. There were 76.8% of live births and 22% of spontaneous abortions. Congenital anomalies were reported in 2 newborns. Conclusions: In half cases, it was decided to stop biologic therapy in the family planning period. Using biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs before and/or during pregnancy doesn’t seem to affect the overall maternal and fetal outcomes. Pregnancy planning and treatment options should be discussed and a shared decision should be established between physician and patient.