Remicade During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on July 24, 2012

Remicade (infliximab) is a prescription medicine primarily used to manage symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders. It is a relatively safe and effective medication that may be prescribed to both adults and children. However, many pregnant and breastfeeding women are concerned whether it is safe for them to take this medication.

Can Pregnant Women Take Remicade?

In general, Remicade is considered safe for pregnant women. Although Remicade has not been evaluated on pregnant women, animal studies conducted on Remicade did not show any possible harm on the unborn fetus. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as a Pregnancy Category B medication.

Actually, most animal studies did not specifically use Remicade in their tests because this drug does not take effect in animals. When similar medications were given to pregnant mice, they failed to show any problems on the outcome of pregnancy. Currently, there are limited information and well controlled studies that evaluate the effects of Remicade on pregnant women. In one study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2004, it showed that the drug did not increase the risk of problems on the child and the mother.

Take note, however, that animal studies do not always reflect how humans will respond to a certain medicine. Since more studies are needed to establish the safety of Remicade during pregnancy, this medication should be prescribed to pregnant women only if the perceived benefits justify the potential risks.

If you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant while on Remicade treatment, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. He or she will evaluate your condition, taking in consideration the benefits and risks of using Remicade during pregnancy before making any recommendation.

Can Breastfeeding Women Take Remicade?

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies that evaluate whether Remicade is passed into the breast milk. However, because of the potential adverse effects on the breastfed child, the manufacturer of Remicade recommends that prescribers consider the benefits and risks before making any recommendation for breastfeeding women. If you are taking Remicade and plan to breastfeed, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider first.

Although there are limited studies that have been done to determine whether this medication is excreted into the human milk, many healthcare providers consider it probably safe for breastfeeding women. If your healthcare provider recommends taking the drug while breastfeeding, be sure to monitor for possible side effects or changes in the nursing infant. If you notice any change in your child, consult your healthcare provider.

Each patient experiences a unique situation, talk with your healthcare provider about the use of Remicade while breastfeeding. Your healthcare provider will give you recommendation that is best in your particular situation.