Disease Reactivation after Fingolimod Discontinuation in Pregnant Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Assunta Bianco, Matteo Lucchini, Massimiliano Mirabella, Roberta Pastorino, Chiara De Fino, Rocco Totaro, Roberta Fantozzi, Giovanna De Luca, Sonia Di Lemme, Giorgia Presicce, Luana Evangelista, Valeria Di Tommaso, Valeria De Arcangelis, Diego Centonze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent studies estimated an incidence of 4-25% of disease rebound after withdrawal of fingolimod (FTY) for any reason, but specific data on disease reactivation after FTY withdrawal due to pregnancy are limited. The aim of the study was to evaluate the frequency and predictors of disease reactivation in patients who stopped FTY for pregnancy. A multicentre retrospective cohort study was conducted in four Italian MS centres in 2013-2019. Both planned and unplanned pregnancies were included. The annualized relapse rate (ARR) was calculated before FTY treatment, during FTY treatment, during pregnancy and during the year after delivery. In total, 27 patients (mean age 29 years) were included. The ARR 1 year before FTY treatment was 1.3. Patients were exposed to FTY for a median of 2.9 years. The ARR was 0.04 during the last year before conception (p < 0.001 compared with the ARR before FTY treatment). Eleven patients became pregnant after a mean of 88 days following FTY discontinuation, whereas 16 patients stopped FTY after pregnancy confirmation. Relapses were observed in 22% of patients during pregnancy and in 44% in the postpartum period. ARR increased both during pregnancy (0.49; p = 0.027) and in the first year after delivery (0.67; p < 0.001) compared to the last year before pregnancy. Compared with radiological assessment before pregnancy, more patients showed new or enlarging T2 lesions (63% vs 30%; p = 0.02) and gadolinium-enhancing lesions (44% vs 0; p = 0.0001) on brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Relapses during pregnancy were the only significant predictor for postpartum relapses (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.11-3.1). One case of spontaneous abortion and no cases of abnormal foetal development were observed. Despite adequate and prolonged control of disease activity, women who discontinue FTY because of pregnancy are at risk for disease reactivation. In patients who relapsed during pregnancy, the initiation of high-efficacy disease modifying drugs (DMDs) soon after delivery is advisable to prevent postpartum relapses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalNeurotherapeutics
Volume2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Breastfeeding
  • Delivery
  • Pregnancy
  • Rebound
  • Relapse

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