A.S. asks from Columbus, OH on July 06, 2010
Crohn's Disease and Humira
I'm 31 years old and currently take 40mg of Humira every two weeks for Crohn's diesase (and inflammatory arthritis - kind of does double duty). My husband and I are going to try to conceive in the near future. Can anyone who also takes Humira share with me if they did or did not take this during pregnacy and what, if anything, their physician said about taking this/ not taking this while pregnant? My Gastroenterologist is adamant that I stop taking it several weeks before I conceive while my prescribing Rheumatologist and High Risk OB are not concerned as the molecules are too big to cross the placenta. And I guess while I'm on the topic I'll ask if anyone has taken this while breastfeeding? The info I found discouraged taking this while breastfeeding, but I'm still curious. I'd really, really like to continue taking it during pregnancy because it really does work very well for me and I think the benifits of me taking it far outweigh the risks of me not taking it. Having a flare which would require multiple medications, probably hospitalization, not absorbing nutrients correctly, etc. Thanks all!
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on July 06, 2010
I've linked you to the Prescribing Information approved by the FDA for Humira. Section 8.1 and section 8.2 should have the information you're seeking:
According to the document, it's pregnancy category B which means it has been approved by the FDA for use in Pregnancy. However, there are serious side effects and a Black Box Warning (strongest warning from the FDA). I'd go through and read the entire document and discuss with a pharmacist as well as your specialists. I'd find out from your gastroenterologist what their concerns are vs. your rheumatologist and OB.
As for nursing, I'd not take the risk personally based upon the information in the document. I don't know if you can manage both your Crohn's and RA without this medication, but it doesn't appear to be worth the risk. When diagnosed with cancer after my daughter's birth, I lamented having to stop nursing her (I'd nursed her brother for the first year), but I realized having Mom was more important than having Mom's milk. In your case, if you can find safer alternative treatments or can manage without treatment, it may be a better option.
1 mom found this helpful
D.F. answers from Cleveland on July 07, 2010
I have Ulcerative Colitis...similar to Crohn's except it only affects my colon, not my whole digestive tract. I stopped my medicine when I conceived and I never had an outbreak. I did research and for reasons unknown, you will most likely not have an outbreak when pregnant. As for the arthritis, I did not have that when I conceived, but I do now (and I'm only 33). I don't know if there is safe anti-inflammatory medicine you could take for your arthritis? If I was in your shoes, I would come off of the medicine. You can always go back on it if you have an outbreak. But then again, Crohn's is worst than UC. Good luck!!
B.R. answers from Columbus on July 07, 2010
Everything in your bloodstream passes into breastmilk. In my opinion, it's safest for both you and your baby if you don't nurse and take your medications after delivery.
M.R. answers from Columbus on July 07, 2010
You could be writing about me! First, trust your OB, especially the High Risk kind - that's what they deal with. Second, check out CCFA.org, I just did a CE on this issue through their website and it's archived there. I can tell you, the recommendation I've seen is you stop it at 34 weeks, and resume with delivery. And it's safe to breastfeed on. Biggest issue is no live vaccines for babies until 6 months - so no RotaTeq vaccine as it's live, but just be sure to tell your pediatrician. My high risk OB is checking into it, he prefers that women stay on it the entire pregnancy, but there is no problem with using it during conception. Your GI doc sounds like mine, a little high-strung and worries a little too much!
Good luck! We are about to start trying for #3, my first while on Humira.
K.Z. answers from Cleveland on July 11, 2010
Re breastfeeding while taking meds--check with La Leche League to see if they have any studies relative to the meds you use or are considering. They try to keep on top of that sort of thing.
M.H. answers from Evansville on July 07, 2010
My friend has Crohn's and she didn't take any prescriptions while pregnant or breastfeeding. It wasn't until she quit breastfeeding that she had a flare up. Your hormones are so different while pregnant and breastfeeding that your body will be so different than normal. For instance, I'm lactose intolerant and during both my pregnancies I wasn't. I'm sure I don't have to tell you this but Crohn's flare ups are also triggered by stress so relax and enjoy your pregnancy and baby! :)
S.D. answers from Indianapolis on July 07, 2010
Did you know that drinking breastmilk is one of the best ways to ease your own Crohn's symptoms? Worth a try:)