, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 219-232
Date: 26 Nov 2012

Drug Safety Issues in Pregnancy Following Transplantation and Immunosuppression

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Abstract

Successful pregnancy outcomes are possible after solid organ transplantation. While there are risks to mother and fetus, there has not been an increased incidence of malformations noted in the newborn of the transplant recipient. It is essential that there is closely coordinated care that involves the transplant team and an obstetrician in order to obtain a favourable outcome.

Current data from the literature, as well as from reports from the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR), support the concept that immuno suppression be maintained at appropriate levels during pregnancy. At present, most immunosuppressive maintenance regimens include combination therapy, usually cyclosporin or tacrolimus based. Most female transplant recipients will be receiving maintenance therapy prior to and during pregnancy. For some agents, including monoclonal antibodies and mycophenolate mofetil, there is either no animal reproductive information or there are concerns about reproductive safety.

The optimal (lowest risk) transplant recipient can be defined by pre-conception criteria which include good transplant graft function, no evidence of rejection, minimum 1 to 2 years post-transplant and no or well controlled hypertension. For these women pregnancy generally proceeds without significant adverse effects on mother and child.

It is of note that the epidemiological data available to date on azathioprine-based regimens are favourable in the setting of a category D agent (i.e. one that can cause fetal harm). Thus, there is still much to learn regarding potential toxicities of immunosuppressive agents. The effect of improved immunosuppressive regimens which use newer or more potent (and potentially more toxic) agents will require further study.