Babies Fathered by Men on IBD Medications Aren’t at Higher Risk for Birth Problems, Study Finds

Babies Fathered by Men on IBD Medications Aren’t at Higher Risk for Birth Problems, Study Finds
Children whose fathers were exposed to drugs for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- primarily azathioprine (AZA) and 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) -- within three months of conception had no significantly increased risk for adverse birth outcomes, according to the results of a large Danish national cohort study. The study, “Reassuring results on birth outcomes in children fathered by men treated with azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine within 3 months before conception: a nationwide cohort study,” was published in the journal Gut. “This is the largest and most comprehensive study to date on the effect of preconceptual use of AZA/6-MP in men on birth outcomes, and overall, our results are reassuring,” Dr. Sonia Friedman, MD, and her colleagues from the University of Southern Denmark and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, wrote in a recent news release. IBD is frequently diagnosed during childbearing years, and both men and women are often concerned about the effects of medications on their potential offspring. The immunomodulators AZA and its active metabolite 6-MP have been used since the 1970s to treat IBDs, especially ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Based on nationwide data from the Danish health registries, Friedman and her colleagues tested the potential relationship between paternal use of AZA/6-MP and
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