Information on the safety of paternal use of azathioprine and mercaptopurine prior to conception is limited.
Based on nationwide data from the Danish health registries, Dr Nørgård and colleagues from Denmark examined the association between paternal use of azathioprine/mercaptopurine within 3 months before conception and adverse birth outcomes.
The team performed a nationwide cohort study based on data from all singletons born in Denmark from 1997 through 2013.
Children fathered by men who used azathioprine/mercaptopurine within 3 months before conception constituted the exposed cohort, and children fathered by men who did not use azathioprine/mercaptopurine 3 months prior to conception constituted the unexposed cohort.
|The adjusted odds ratios were 0.82 for congenital abnormalities|
The outcomes were congenital abnormalities, preterm birth and small for gestational age.
The team adjusted for multiple covariates and performed a restricted analysis of men with IBD.
The researchers found no significantly increased risks of congenital abnormalities, preterm birth or small for gestational age in exposed versus unexposed cohorts of children.
The adjusted odds ratios were 0.82 for congenital abnormalities, 1.17 for preterm birth and 1.38 for small for gestational age .
The team noted that restricting their analysis to fathers with IBD showed similar results with no significantly increased risk of adverse birth outcomes.
Dr Nørgård's team concludes, "This nationwide study is the largest to date, examining the effect of preconceptual paternal use of azathioprine/mercaptopurine on birth outcomes in live born singletons."
"The results of no significantly increased risks of adverse birth outcomes are reassuring and support the continuation of paternal azathioprine/mercaptopurine treatment during conception."