Inflammatory bowel disease affects a substantial number of female patients in their reproductive years.
Therefore, many physicians face the dilemma whether thiopurines, prescribed to maintain remission, can be taken safely during pregnancy.
Dr de Meij and colleagues from the Netherlands reported that data on long-term development outcome of children exposed to maternal thiopurine therapy are very limited.
The research team assessed the long-term effects of in utero exposure to thiopurines during pregnancy on infant health status.
The doctors performed a prospective multicenter follow-up study in children exposed intrauterine to maternal thiopurine therapy.
Physical, cognitive and social aspects of infant health status were assessed with the 43-item TNO-AZL Preschool Children Quality of Life Questionnaire.
The research team evaluated information on visits to general practitioner and medical specialists, and physician's advice regarding lactation.
Data were compared with normative data from a control group consisting of 340 children.
The team assessed 30 children in this study.
|21 of 30 children were exclusively formula-fed based on a negative advice|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The team of doctors reported that no differences on global medical and psychosocial health status were found between children exposed to intrauterine thiopurines and the reference group.
Exposure to intrauterine thiopurines was not associated with increased susceptibility to infection or immunodeficiency in childhood.
The team found that 21 of 30 children were exclusively formula-fed based on a negative advice of medical specialists directed at thiopurine use during lactation.
Dr Meij's team commented, "Thiopurine use during pregnancy did not affect long-term development or immune function of children up to 6 years of age."
"Our results underscore the present notion that mothers, even those using thiopurines, should be encouraged to breastfeed their infants."