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Date of issue: November 2022, Version: 4.2

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A corresponding patient information leaflet on USE OF ETANERCEPT IN PREGNANCY is available.

Etanercept is a human tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor p75 Fc fusion protein monoclonal antibody. It is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis, and plaque psoriasis where other systemic therapies are ineffective or unsuitable.

Maternal autoimmune/inflammatory conditions are known to increase the risk of certain adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, preterm delivery and low infant birth weight, particularly where the maternal condition is poorly controlled either around the time of conception and/or during pregnancy. Studies that have included disease-matched control groups suggest no additional increased risks relating to use of anti-TNFα therapies.

Studies that provide data on the safety of etanercept use in pregnancy collectively describe more than 1,200 exposed pregnancies, with first trimester exposure confirmed in 389. These data do not indicate that etanercept use in pregnancy increases the overall risk of congenital malformation, or any of specific malformation/pattern of malformations. The available evidence also does not suggest that increased risks of miscarriage, intrauterine death, preterm delivery or impaired fetal growth exist following etanercept use in pregnancy. A small number of uncontrolled case reports have described normal childhood development up to 3 years of age.

Use of immunosuppressant antibodies that actively cross the placenta during pregnancy could result in immunosuppression in the neonate and increase the risk of infection. Rare cases of fatal infection following BCG vaccination after in utero anti-TNFα exposure have been described in the literature. General guidance has been provided from a number of authorities around avoiding/deferring live vaccine use in infants exposed to etanercept in utero. Although the manufacturer of etanercept recommends avoiding live vaccine use until the child is 16 weeks old, other recommendations vary depending on both the circumstances of etanercept exposure and infant infection risk. UKTIS recommend a case-specific risk assessment approach when considering the use of live vaccines following in utero etanercept exposure. Discussion with UKTIS is recommended in all cases where use of a live vaccine is being considered in an infant <16 weeks of age where there has been in utero exposure to etanercept.

Pregnant women treated with etanercept are likely to be offered additional fetal growth monitoring due to their underlying medical condition; no additional fetal monitoring is required as a result of etanercept exposure specifically. Other risk factors may be present in individual cases which may independently increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Clinicians are reminded of the importance of consideration of such factors when performing case-specific risk assessments.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to NHS health care professionals who are logged in.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.