The findings also revealed relapses over the first six months after giving birth in a quarter of women who stopped Gilenya before or after getting pregnant.
The research, “Disease activity during pregnancy after fingolimod withdrawal due to planning a pregnancy in women with multiple sclerosis,” was presented at the 34th congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), which took place Oct. 10-12, in Berlin, Germany.
The data were presented by Spalmai Hemat, from St. Josef Hospital, Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany.
Previous studies have shown that the frequency of symptoms’ worsening (relapses) in MS patients declines during pregnancy, creating a sort of natural protection. “In pregnant women with MS, disease activity significantly decreases, especially in the third trimester” Hemat said in the presentation.
However, women with MS who stop treatment with Novartis’ Gilenya and are planning to become pregnant have an unknown risk for relapse or disability, although severe return of disease activity had been described.
Aiming to address this gap, a team from Germany, U.S., Spain, Austria, Italy, and Belgium compared the relapse rate, disability risk, and pregnancy outcomes in women who stopped Gilenya treatment either before (group A) or after (group B) becoming pregnant.
Researchers collected detailed data on the course of MS and pregnancy, relapses, disability, and outcome from the German MS and pregnancy registry (140 patients) and from six international collaborators (16 patients) up to September 2017. Six pregnancies were ongoing when the study finished.
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