You are here:

MS research update - DMT use in fathers to be: what effect on pregnancy and baby health? - 3 June 2014

Summary

MS is most often diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, when many people may be thinking of having a family. However, very little is known about the effect on pregnancy outcomes and the health of the baby, when disease modifying treatments (DMTs) are taken around the time of conception and during pregnancy. This study aimed to examine the outcomes of pregnancies fathered by a man with MS taking a DMT.

78 pregnancies were examined, 45 were fathered by a man taking a DMT and 33 were conceived when the father was not taking any medication.

The study found that there was no association between DMT use by the father at the time of conception and the risk of miscarriage, complications or birth defects.

Background

MS is most often diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, the age at which many people may be thinking of having a family. Very little is known about the effect on pregnancy outcomes and the health of the baby, when disease modifying treatments (DMTs) are taken around the time of conception and during pregnancy.

Most previous studies have looked at the effect of DMTs on women and pregnancy, but there is a still a lack of research data and information on the use of DMTs by fathers.

This study aimed to examine the outcomes of pregnancies fathered by a man with MS taking a DMT.

How this study was carried out

The study looked in detail at 78 pregnancies fathered by men with MS, from the Italian Pregnancy Dataset. This is a register of all the pregnancies mothered and fathered by people with MS, who attend one of the 21 participating centres in Italy. Information was gathered using a standard form, within six months of the end of the pregnancy (delivery, miscarriage or abortion) and children were followed up for up to two years after birth, as most birth defects would usually be identified within this time frame.

The 78 pregnancies examined were divided into two groups. The first called the 'exposed group' were 45 pregnancies fathered by a man with MS taking a DMT (39 were taking a beta-interferons and 6 glatiramer acetate) at the time of conception or those who had stopped taking a DMT within 70 days of conception. The second group of 33 pregnancies, was the 'unexposed group' where the father was a man with MS who was not taking any medication at the time of conception, either as he had stopped taking a DMT at least 70 days prior or had never been treated with a DMT.

As well as comparing DMT exposed and non-exposed pregnancies, the data was also compared to pregnancy data from the general population.

What was found

The study found that there was no association between DMT use by the father at the time of conception and the risk of miscarriage, complications or birth defects.

When comparing the exposed and unexposed pregnancies, no differences were found in the risk of miscarriage, complications, the length of pregnancy, the number of caesareans, birth weight and birth length. When compared to the general population, again there were no significant differences, although there were more premature births in the DMT exposed pregnancies than the authors expected based on calculations. The authors do note that as they are looking at a relatively small number of pregnancies, and premature births were 7 pregnancies out of this small sample, this may not be representative and needs to be investigated further.

What does it mean?

The study shows that there is no association between a father using beta-interferons or glatiramer acetate at the point of conception and problems with pregnancy or birth defects. This study does not examine any other DMTs and the authors do highlight it is a relatively small sample size. The authors conclude that further studies looking at DMT use by fathers prior to and during pregnancy are needed and these can help form formal guidelines for doctors to refer to when advising men with MS who are considering becoming a father.

Pecori C, Giannini M, Portaccio E , et al.
Paternal therapy with disease modifying drugs in multiple sclerosis and pregnancy outcomes: a prospective observational multicentric study .
BMC Neurol. 2014 May 26;14(1):114. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract
Read the full text of this paper

More about pregnancy and MS

MS is most often diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, the age at which many people may be thinking of having a family. Deciding whether to start or add to a family is often a complicated process, and MS raises a host of other questions to consider. A number of medications for MS, both disease modifying drugs and those for individual symptoms, are currently not recommended for use by women during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. This is because many drugs have not been tested for safety during pregnancy. Even less is known about how these medications can affect the pregnancies fathered by men with MS taking them, so this study adds to the small evidence base, which will grow and give more information over time.

You can read more about pregnancy and parenthood in our A-Z of MS.

Research by topic areas...

Assessment tools

Behrens J, Pfüller C, Mansow-Model S, et al.
Using perceptive computing in multiple sclerosis - the short maximum speed walk test.
J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2014 May 27;11(1):89. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Kohn CG, Sidovar MF, Kaur K, et al.
Estimating a minimal clinically important difference for the EuroQol 5-dimension health status index in persons with multiple sclerosis.
Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2014 May 5;12(1):66. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Gunzler DD, Perzynski A, Morris N, et al.
Disentangling multiple sclerosis and depression: an adjusted depression screening score for patient-centered care.
J Behav Med. 2014 Jun 1. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Disease modifying treatments

Laroni A, Gandoglia I, Solaro C, et al.
Clinical baseline factors predict response to natalizumab: their usefulness in patient selection.
BMC Neurol. 2014 May 12;14(1):103. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract
Read the full text of this paper (PDF)

Matell H, Lycke J, Svenningsson A, et al.
Age-dependent effects on the treatment response of natalizumab in MS patients.
Mult Scler. 2014 May 27. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Other

Razaz N, Nourian R, Marrie RA, et al.
Children's and adolescents adjustment to parental multiple sclerosis: a systematic review.
BMC Neurol. 2014 May 19;14(1):107. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Other treatments

Thomas PW, Thomas S, Kersten P, et al.
One year follow-up of a pragmatic multi-centre randomised controlled trial of a group-based fatigue management programme (FACETS) for people with multiple sclerosis.
BMC Neurol. 2014 May 19;14(1):109. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract
Read the full text of this paper (PDF)

Lúcio A, D'Ancona C, Lopes M, et al.
The effect of pelvic floor muscle training alone or in combination with electrostimulation in the treatment of sexual dysfunction in women with multiple sclerosis.
Mult Scler. 2014 May 29. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Pathophysiology

Lublin FD, Reingold SC, Cohen JA, et al.
Defining the clinical course of multiple sclerosis: The 2013 revisions.
Neurology. 2014 May 28. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Physical activity

Pilutti LA, Platta ME, Motl RW, et al.
The safety of exercise training in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review.
J Neurol Sci. 2014 May 15. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Pregnancy and childbirth

Wundes A, Pebdani RN, Amtmann D.
What do healthcare providers advise women with multiple sclerosis regarding pregnancy?
Mult Scler Int. 2014;2014:819216.
abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Psychological aspects

Badenes D, Garolera M, Casas L, et al.
Driving competences and neuropsychological factors associated to driving counseling in multiple sclerosis.
J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2014 May;20(5):555-65.
abstract

Quality of life

Kwiatkowski A, Marissal JP, Pouyfaucon M, et al.
Social participation in patients with multiple sclerosis: correlations between disability and economic burden.
BMC Neurol. 2014 May 27;14(1):115. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract
Read the full text of this paper (PDF)

Rehabilitation

Tyler ME, Kaczmarek KA, Rust KL, et al.
Non-invasive neuromodulation to improve gait in chronic multiple sclerosis: a randomized double blind controlled pilot trial.
J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2014 May 1;11(1):79. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Self-management

Lowden D, Lee V, Ritchie JA.
Redefining self: patients' decision making about treatment for multiple sclerosis.
J Neurosci Nurs. 2014 May 28. [Epub ahead of print]
abstract

Symptoms and symptom management

Servillo G, Renard D, Taieb G, et al.
Bedside tested ocular motor disorders in multiple sclerosis patients.
Mult Scler Int. 2014;2014:732329. 
abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Year: 2016

December 2016

November 2016

July 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

Year: 2015

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

Year: 2014

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

Year: 2013

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

Year: 2012

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

Print this page