Certolizumab Pegol use while Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Certolizumab Pegol: Cimzia
Certolizumab Pegol Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Preliminary data indicate that certolizumab is not excreted into breastmilk, which would be expected because of its high molecular weight. Absorption is unlikely because it is probably destroyed in the infant's gastrointestinal tract. Although the manufacturer recommends that breastfeeding be discontinued during certolizumab therapy, most experts consider certolizumab to be probably safe during breastfeeding.
Maternal Levels. One woman received certolizumab pegol 400 mg by subcutaneous injection every 4 weeks during pregnancy and postpartum. The last dose during pregnancy was 1 week prior to delivery. Breastmilk samples were collected 1 and 2 weeks postpartum and 4 hours, 3 days and 6 days after the first postpartum dose which was given at 3 weeks postpartum. Certolizumab was undetectable (<410 mcg/L) in all 5 samples.
Three women who received certolizumab pegol (dose unspecified) as part of a large registry study submitted breastmilk samples. Certolizumab was not detected in any samples between 12 and 24 hours after infusion.
Two women were receiving certolizumab pegol 200 mg every two weeks. Certolizumab was undetectable (<0.6 mg/L) in breastmilk one hour after the dose in both women and 4 hours after the dose in one of them.
Infant Levels. One woman received certolizumab pegol 400 mg by subcutaneous injection every 4 weeks during pregnancy and postpartum. The last dose during pregnancy was 1 week prior to delivery. At birth, her infant had a serum concentration 1.02 mg/L At one month of age, her breastfed (extent not stated) infant had a serum concentration of 0.84 mg/L seven days after the previous injection.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
Eight women who received certolizumab pegol during pregnancy and postpartum breastfed (extent not stated) their infants. No mention was made of side effects in the infants.
A prospective cohort study followed pregnant women with inflammatory bowel disease throughout pregnancy and for 12 months postpartum. Women were assigned to one of the following groups: unexposed (no thiopurines or anti-TNF agents); group A (azathioprine or mercaptopurine); group B (infliximab, adalimumab or certolizumab) and group AB (both a thiopurine and an anti-TNF agent). Of 1052 women enrolled in the study, 72% breastfed their infants, although the extent and duration were not stated in the abstract. A total of 102 women were exposed to an anti-TNF agent and 59 were exposed to a thiopurine plus an anti-TNF agent. The use of an anti-TNF alone was not associated with any complication in the infants and their growth and development were normal throughout the 12 months. Infants exposed to both a thiopurine and an anti-TNF agent had a 50% increase in the number of infections between 9 and 12 months of age. The relationship of this increase with breastfeeding could not be determined from the available data.
Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk
Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Alternate Drugs to Consider
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4. Nguyen GC, Seow CH, Maxwell C et al. The Toronto Consensus Statements for the Management of IBD in Pregnancy. Gastroenterology. 2016;150:734-57. PMID: 26688268
5. van der Woude CJ, Ardizzone S, Bengtson MB et al. The second European evidenced-based consensus on reproduction and pregnancy in inflammatory bowel disease. J Crohns Colitis. 2015;9:107-24. PMID: 25602023
6. Flint J, Panchal S, Hurrell A et al. BSR and BHPR guideline on prescribing drugs in pregnancy and breastfeeding-Part I: standard and biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and corticosteroids. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016;55:1693-7. PMID: 26750124
7. Gotestam Skorpen C, Hoeltzenbein M, Tincani A et al. The EULAR points to consider for use of antirheumatic drugs before pregnancy, and during pregnancy and lactation. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016;75:795-810. PMID: 26888948
8. Mahadevan U, McConnell RA, Chambers C. Drug safety and risk of adverse outcomes for pregnant patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. Gastroenterology. 2016. PMID: 27769809
9. Mahadevan U, Wolf DC, Dubinsky M et al. Placental transfer of anti-tumor necrosis factor agents in pregnant patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;11:286-92. PMID: 23200982
10. Matro R, Martin CF, Wolf DC et al. Detection of biologic agents in breast milk and implication for infection, growth and development in infants born to women with inflammatory bowel disease: Results from the PIANO registry. Gastroenterology. 2015;148:S141. Abstract.
11. Mahadevan-Velayos U, Siegel C, Abreu MT. Certolizumab use in pregnancy: low levels detected in cord blood. Presented at the 22nd Annual Organization of Teratogen Information Services Education Conference. June 27 - July 1, 2009.
12. Mahadevan U, Martin CF, Sandler RS et al. PIANO: a 1000 patient prospective registry of pregnancy outcomes in women with IBD exposed to immunomodulators and biologic therapy . Gastroenterology . 2012;142 (Suppl 1):S149. Abstract 865. DOI: doi.org/10.1016/S0016-5085(12)60561-7
Certolizumab Pegol Identification
CAS Registry Number
Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
LactMed Record Number
Last Revision Date
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- Other brands: Cimzia