Crohn’s drug may raise neonatal infection risk

ADALIMUMAB (Humira), crosses the placenta and may heighten a newborn’s infection risk for several months, a conference has heard.

The agent, used to treat Crohn’s disease, has an immunosuppressive effect and may be detectable in a neonate’s blood for at least three months.

“Since there is some placental transfer of adalimumab before birth, you have to be vigilant in the first six months of life,” researcher Dr Uma Mahadevan told the US Digestive Disease Week 2011 conference recently. 

However, she did not recommend that mothers cease the drug during pregnancy, as a disease flare-up posed more of a health risk.

Adalimumab sponsor Abbott Australasia said there was limited safety data on the drug in pregnancy.

“The Australian product information for Humira currently includes a precaution advising that its use during pregnancy is not recommended,” a spokesperson said.