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Management of Multiple Sclerosis in the Breastfeeding Mother
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune neurological disease characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Relapsing-Remitting MS is characterized by acute attacks followed by remission. Treatment is aimed at halting these attacks; therapymay last formonths to years. Because MS disproportionately affects females and commonly begins during the childbearing years, clinicians treat pregnant or nursing MS patients. The intent of this review is to perform an in-depth analysis into the safety of drugs used in breastfeeding women with MS. This paper is composed of several drugs used in the treatment of MS and current research regarding their safety in breastfeeding including immunomodulators, immunosuppressants, monoclonal antibodies, corticosteroids, and drugs used for symptomatic treatment. Typically, some medications are large polar molecules which often do not pass into the milk in clinically relevant amounts. For this reason, interferon beta is likely safe for the infant when given to a breastfeeding mother. However, other drugs with particularly dangerous side effects may not be recommended. While treatment options are available and some data from clinical studies does exist, there continues to be a need for investigation and ongoing review of the medications used in breastfeeding mothers.
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