Treatment with interferon-beta therapy during pregnancy in women with multiple sclerosis (MS) does not influence children’s gestational age, birth weight, length, or head size, researchers report.
The study with those findings, “The association between exposure to interferon-beta during pregnancy and birth measurements in offspring of women with multiple sclerosis,” was published recently in the journal PLoS ONE.
Interferon-beta (IFN-beta) treatments are a mainstay of approved MS therapies. Although current guidelines recommend cessation during pregnancy, small-scale studies show conflicting evidence about the safety of prenatal exposure to IFN-beta.
Now, a team led by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, investigated whether, among those born to women with MS, babies prenatally exposed to IFN-beta were born smaller than those who were not prenatally exposed to any MS disease-modifying therapies.
For this purpose, investigators used datasets from Sweden and Finland. A total of 411 pregnancies exposed to interferon-beta were identified in Sweden between 2005 and 2014, while Finnish records revealed 232 pregnancies meeting that criteria.
Data was compared to pregnancies not exposed to any disease-modifying therapies, which included 835 gestations in Sweden and 331 in Finland. The IFN-beta exposure window was considered from six months prior to the patient’s last menstrual period to the end of the pregnancy.
Results showed that Swedish infants exposed to IFN-beta were on average 28 grams heavier, 0.01 cm longer, and had a 0.14 cm larger head circumference. Finnish babies were 50 grams lighter, 0.02 cm shorter, and had a 0.22 cm smaller head circumference, compared to unexposed infants. However, these differences were not statistically significant overall.
According to the team, such differences in baby weight, length, or head size probably are due to other factors and not related to exposure to IFN-beta.
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