Should Biological Therapies Be Used During Pregnancy by Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients?

Should Biological Therapies Be Used During Pregnancy by Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients?
A new article sheds light on whether pregnant women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should continue using anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy. These therapies include the biological agents infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, and golimumab, all of which block the naturally-occurring inflammatory molecule TNF. Overall, the study authors suggest discontinuing these treatments during the third trimester of pregnancy. The recently released report, titled "Safety of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy during pregnancy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease," appeared in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. IBD is characterized by an inflammation of part or all of the digestive tract. Different types include ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Symptoms can be extremely debilitating and include weight loss, severe diarrhea, pain and fatigue. Treatment for IBD has improved with the introduction of biological agents, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies as category B, meaning they are safe to use in pregnancy and do not pose a risk to the developing fetus. TNF, the target for IBD biological treatments, is a key molecule that mediates inflammation. It is one of the crucial triggers for what is known as the "acute phase reaction," an inflammatory response to injury or infection that can be abnormally high in people with diseases such as IBD. A new comprehensive review, led by first author Ioannis Androulakis from the University of Athens Medical School in Greece, noted that although bio
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