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Husband has MS – Advice for conceiving?

  • By Lady Vix

    Hi everybody,

    I hope you don’t mind me posting, but we’re in a bit of a pickle and wondered if anybody has any advice.

    My husband was diagnosed a year ago with RRMS, and takes daily Copaxone injections. We are hoping to start trying for a baby in the next six months, but have been given conflicting advice by MS nurses, and others.

    One nurse told us that he would have to come off medication for at least three months before we attempt to conceive. This is obviously concerning for a number of reasons, including the fact that if it doesn’t happen straight away then he could be off medication for an undetermined length of time, which is pretty scary. Also, we want to have more than one child eventually, so that prospect is pretty scary. It breaks my heart to think of what he’ll have to cope with whilst we wait to conceive.

    Another nurse told us that it doesn’t matter as much of the father is on medication, as the guidelines are more geared towards the mother.

    We want to be cautious, and will ask his consultant the finer details closer to the time, but in the meantime I wondered if anybody else has had a similar experience and could offer any advice?

    Thanks in advance,
    Victoria

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  • By KatieMelissa

    I know of a couple that are in one of my support groups. The first time I met them was when they had asked the speaker at the group about their pregnancy. He has MS and also on Copaxone. They conceived and now have a health baby boy!! Copaxone is the safest medication to conceive on if you accidently get pregnant. That is what I have heard anyways. I would make sure of course but that is just what I have heard. that it is a class B medication when it comes to pregnancy.

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  • By Lisa Emrich Moderator

    Hi Lady Vix,

    Congratulations on thinking of beginning your family. Very exciting time.

    Of course, you need to go by the recommendations of your husband’s doctors. But according to drug classifications, Copaxone is categorized as a class B medication which means that “animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus; however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.”

    This is the MS medication with the lowest risk to pregnancy. Here is an excerpt of an article I previously wrote regarding each of the MS medications:

    “Pregnancy Category C drugs, such as Avonex, Rebif, Plegridy, Betaseron, Extavia, Tysabri, Lemtrada, Gilenya, Tecfidera, are medications for which “animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.”

    Women of childbearing potential who take Gilenya should be encouraged to use adequate methods of contraception during and for at least 2 months after stopping therapy. Thyroid disease poses special risks in women who are pregnant and taking Lemtrada.

    Other frequently used drugs to treat MS symptoms, such as Ampyra, Neurontin, Wellbutrin, baclofen, and Nuvigil, are also listed as Pregnancy Category C medications.

    Pregnancy Category D drugs, such as Novantrone, are medications for which “animal data have revealed evidence of fetotoxicity (low fetal birth weight and retarded development of the fetal kidney) and premature delivery. There are no data from controlled human pregnancy studies. Use of mitoxantrone during pregnancy is considered contraindicated. Even if they are using birth control, women with multiple sclerosis who are biologically capable of becoming pregnant should have a pregnancy test (and the results should be known) before receiving each dose of mitoxantrone.”

    Commonly used benzodiazepines, such as diazepam or alprazolam, are listed as Pregnancy Category D medications.

    Pregnancy Category X drugs, such as Aubagio, are medications for which “use of adequate methods of contraception by both females and males is recommended during and for 2 years after stopping treatment.””

    Good luck!
    Lisa

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  • By Dabble58

    Just to follow up on Lisa’s post – those are drugs tested for use in pregnancy, not for the men involved. Sperm are created as needed unlike our eggs which hang out our whole life; and they are there but an instant before they leave your hubby’s body. I am not sure of studies on spermatogenesis and MS drugs – do you know of any, Lisa?
    Its a different thing than the pregnancy risk stuff because the pregnancy risk assumes constant exposure to the drug, which would be unlikely. Will see if I can find anything.

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