I have had MS for about 2 years (diagnosed). I really would like to have a baby. I am on Rebif right now. I have read different opinions on whether to stay on the medication or not...
My neurologist says I should stay on the injections through pregnancy.
Any thoughts? Or places I can read more about this?
You need to work with your neurologist as well as your OB/GYN or Family Doctor. I would go to the manufacturer's web site for your questions too. These kind of questions need a medically qualified answer.
From the FDA:
"FDA pregnancy risk categorization
Category A : Controlled studies in women fail to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester, and the possibility of fetal harm appears remote. (This means there is very low or no risk.)
Category B : Animal studies do not indicate a risk to the fetus, and there are no controlled human studies. Or, animal studies show an adverse effect on the fetus, but well-controlled studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus. (This means there is some evidence in animal studies that risk exists.)
Category C : Studies have shown that the drug exerts animal teratogenic or embryocidal effects, but there are no controlled studies in women. Or, no studies are available in either animals or women. (This means there is very good evidence in animal studies of a risk of loss of pregnancy or birth defects.)
Category D : Positive evidence of human fetal risk exists, but benefits in certain situations (for example, life-threatening situations or serious diseases for which safer drugs cannot be used or are ineffective) may make use of the drug acceptable despite its risks. (This means there is strong evidence of a risk of loss of pregnancy or birth defects that must be balanced against the value of treatment.)
Category X : Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities or evidence of fetal risk, and the risk clearly outweighs any possible benefit. (This means there is strong evidence of a risk of loss of pregnancy or birth defects without any corresponding benefit to use.)
Rebif is listed as a Category C pregnancy risk. Rebif was tested in animals. We know that Rebif does not cause birth defects in monkeys at doses many times those given to humans. However, Rebif can cause spontaneous abortion in monkeys. We do have some information about the drug's effects on pregnancy in people. Eighty-seven women became pregnant during the research studies of Rebif. On average the women took Rebif for the first five weeks of their pregnancy. Of the 87 women, 33 gave birth to healthy children. There were six miscarriages and one stillborn in the group. Seventeen women chose to end their pregnancies prematurely. At the time of the report the fate of the other pregnancies was not known. Based on theses studies and several other case reports, many experts recommend stopping Rebif during pregnancy. Although there is an increased risk of miscarriage seen with the drug, there does not appear to be evidence of problems in children born to mothers who were on Rebif therapy at the time of pregnancy."
I hope the data can assist you. Still, clear everything with your doctor. It would appear from the studies that there are still mixed opinions within the medical community.
Last edited by MSJayhawk; 10-31-2008 at 10:54 AM.
Reason: Add info
Hi. When i was on Avonex and wanted to try for my second child. I was told to get OFF my injections for a couple of months. I Believe Rebif is the same drug as Avonex only stronger. So i would assume you should not be on them either??
Not sure on who's right but it was for me a big risk. I had previous miscarriages earlier. So i chose to stop all meds.. Good luck with it all.
I am in exactly the same situation. It has been over 2 years since I have been diagnosed and almost a year I am on Rebif. I want very much to have a baby as well, since I am getting close to 35. I asked 2 neurologists on the matter and they advised me to stay on rebif for 1.5 years, then stop it and get pregnant after 3 months.
In case I got pregnant by accident, one of them told me I shoud not be afraid of teratogenesis.
So I am very careful not to get pregnant yet. I decided when I am ready to take the risk and stop the medication. I am even thinking of IVF, in order to get pregnant soon.
Interesting. My MS specialist has made it abundantly clear that under no circumstances should I get pregnant on Rebif and should be off it for at least 6 months before trying to conceive...
Of course I have zero desire to get pregnant but I have been told this on numerous occasions.....please check with Serano, the manufacturer of Rebif...or at the very least, call MS lifelines.
I've heard that being pregnant is a natural protection against relapses. Meaning during the time you are pregnant, it is unlikely that you will relapse. It is the period right after you deliver that you are most likely to relapse. Body hormone levels are adjusting and changing significantly. It seems like an unknown risk being on medications during pregnancy. I would start Rebif again right after delivery. You may have to forego nursing.
I've had two kids. I was diagnosed after my 2nd child. After delivery, I had continuing migraines, and a bad bout of vertigo. All things lead to dx.
I just recently talked to my OB/GYN about this exact topic.... she did say that it is very unlikely that you would have a relapse during pregnancy - in fact, she told me that I would probably feel my best during pregnancy. She did mention that it is highly likely that one can relapse following delivery, but she said that there are treatments that she can do in anticipation of a relapse, so you may want to talk to your OB and see if he/she is familiar with treatment in anticipation of a relapse following pregnancy. Good luck, and all the best to you!!