Perceptions regarding use of anti-tumor necrosis factor treatments for women of childbearing age among healthcare professionals

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Perceptions regarding use of anti-tumor necrosis factor treatments for women of childbearing age among healthcare professionals

Presenters: Voorhees AV1, Afzali A2, Schwartzman S3, Ecoffet C4, Pisenti L5, Stark J5, Yassine M5, Abraham B6

Affiliations: 1Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA; 2The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH; 3Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY; 4UCB Pharma, Brussels, Belgium; 5UCB Pharma, Smyrna, GA; 6Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX

Background/Objective: For women with chronic inflammatory diseases (e.g., psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease), disease onset, diagnosis, and treatment initiation often overlap with peak reproductive years. High disease activity is associated with increased risk of pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes, and achieving disease control is therefore an important goal for the success of these pregnancies. Tumor necrosis factor antagonists (anti-TNFs) are effective treatments, but use among women of childbearing age (WoCBA) varies due to differing attitudes regarding their safety profiles versus benefits. This survey aimed to better understand perceptions and attitudes of healthcare professionals (HCPs) across different specialties regarding treatment of WoCBA patients with anti-TNFs during pregnancy and lactation.

Methods: An online survey was conducted in the United States on July 6, 2017, by SERMO RealTime. WoCBA was defined as women between the ages of 18 and 45 years. Survey participants included dermatologists (DM), gastroenterologists (GI), rheumatologists (RA) and obstetricians/gynecologists (OB).

Results: Two-hundred and fifty-six HCPs participated in the survey, including 53 DMs, 50 GIs, 50 RAs, 50 OBs. Half of the female patient population across specialties were WoCBA. DMs had the lowest proportion (27%) of female patients prescribed anti-TNFs (GI: 31%; RA: 43%). While physicians indicated being comfortable prescribing anti-TNFs for WoCBA patients, concerns were more prevalent once patients actively started family planning. DMs (57%) and OBs (62%) were more likely to recommend discontinuation of anti-TNFs before conception than GIs (36%) and RAs (46%); 45 percent of DMs and 54 percent of OBs agreed that WoCBA patients should stop anti-TNFs once they are pregnant (compared to <35% GIs and RAs). GIs (46%) and RAs (42%) agreed more strongly than DMs (15%) and OB (20%)on making disease control during pregnancy their priority . Only 17 percent of DMs felt that disease control reduces the risk of pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes, compared to GIs (52%), RAs (42%) and OBs (28%). More DMs and OBs than GIs and RAs believed patients who are breastfeeding should not take anti-TNFs, although a high degree of uncertainty was indicated. Overall, HCPs believed that more safety data during and after pregnancy are needed to feel more comfortable with prescribing anti-TNFs to WoCBA patients who are or might become pregnant in the future.

Conclusion: Our survey demonstrates the variability in clinical management of women with inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. Uncertainty about risks of anti-TNF use during pregnancy and lactation is common. Further research and multidisciplinary engagement among HCPs are needed to discuss and safely treat WoCBA.

Fundings/Disclosures: AVV: Consultant for: Dermira, Novartis, Celgene, AbbVie; board member: Dermira, Novartis, Celgene, AbbVie, Allergan, Derm Tech, Valeant, WebMD; ex-spouse pension: Merck; AA: Consultant for AbbVie, Takeda, UCB Pharma, research grant support from AbbVie, non-profit consultant and board member for IBD Horizons; SS: Consultant for Abbvie, Antares, Genentech, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Sanofi, UCB Pharma; speaker fees: Abbvie, Janssen, Genentech, Pfizer, UCB Pharma, Crescendo, Novartis; board member: Crescendo Biosciences, Discus Analytics, National Psoriasis Foundation; CE, LP, JS, MY: Employee of UCB Pharma; MC: Employee of Dermira Inc; BA: Grant/research support: Janssen, UCB Pharma; speaker’s fees: AbbVie, American Reagent, Janssen, UCB Pharma