Commentary

Drugs approved in 2013


 

Luliconazole (Luzu), an azole antifungal, is a cream used for the treatment of tinea pedis, tinea cruris, and tinea corporis. Systemic absorption is minimal. The animal data suggest low risk, but there are no human pregnancy reports. Nevertheless, topical use is probably compatible in pregnancy, as are the other topical azole antifungals in this pharmacologic class: clotrimazole (Lotrimin), econazole (Spectazole), ketoconazole (Kuric), miconazole (Micatin), oxiconazole (Oxistat), sertaconazole (Ertaczo), and sulconazole (Exelderm).

Dolutegravir (Tivicay) is an HIV-1 integrase strand transfer inhibitor given in combination with other antiretroviral drugs. The animal data suggest low risk. If indicated, the drug should not be withheld because of pregnancy.

Gadoterate meglumine (Dotarem), a gadolinium-based contrast agent, is indicated to detect and visualize areas with disruption of the blood brain barrier and/or abnormal vascularity. No developmental toxicity was observed in pregnant animals. Closely related diagnostic agents are gadobenate dimeglumine (MultiHance), gadodiamide (Omniscan), gadofosveset (Ablavar), gadopentetate dimeglumine (Magnevist), gadoteridol (Prohance), and gadoversetamide (OptiMARK). Although the animal data for these agents show risk, no harm has been reported in human pregnancies. However, the available human data are very limited, and the risk magnitude for embryo-fetal harm remains unknown.

Technetium (99mTc) tilmanocept (Lymphoseek) is a radioactive diagnostic agent used in patients with breast cancer or melanoma. The active ingredient is technetium (99mTc). Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted. 99mTc is probably compatible in pregnancy (see Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, 10th ed.; Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2014:1317-8; to be released in August), but the risk of the tilmanocept moiety is unknown.

The immunologic agent dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. The drug caused developmental toxicity (embryolethality, impaired growth, and birth defects) in animals during all portions of pregnancy. In clinical trials, there were 38 exposed pregnancies with the following outcomes: 22 live births, 3 spontaneous abortions, 9 elective abortions, 3 ongoing pregnancies, and 1 lost to follow-up (CNS Drugs 2014;28:89-94). A pregnancy registry has been established, and patients should be encouraged to enroll by calling 800-456-2255.

Two new respiratory combination products were approved in 2013, both for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: fluticasone/vilanterol (Breo Ellipta) and umeclidinium/vilanterol (Anoro Ellipta). Inhaled fluticasone, a corticosteroid, is compatible in pregnancy (see Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, 9th ed.; Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2011:599-601). Vilanterol is a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist that is probably compatible in pregnancy. The absolute bioavailability of inhaled fluticasone and vilanterol in nonpregnant adults was about 15% and 27%, respectively. The animal data for the combination or when given individually suggest low risk in pregnancy. Umeclidinium is a long-acting anticholinergic. It also is absorbed from the lung, but the amount was not specified by the manufacturer. The animal data for umeclidinium suggest low risk.

There are no reports of the above drugs being used during breastfeeding, but excretion into breast milk should be expected. The effect of these exposures on a nursing infant is unknown. However, if a mother is taking one of these drugs and breastfeeding, her infant should be monitored for adverse effects, especially those that are the most common (typically listed on the first page of the package insert) in patients taking the drug. Close monitoring is particularly important during the first 2 postpartum months. A 2003 study found that most adverse reactions in nursing infants occurred within that time period (Clin. Pediatr. 2003;42:325-40).

Mr. Briggs is a pharmacist clinical specialist at the outpatient clinics of Memorial Care Center for Women at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Calif.; clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco; and adjunct professor of pharmacy at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and Washington State University, Spokane. He also is coauthor of "Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation," and coeditor of "Diseases, Complications, and Drug Therapy in Obstetrics." He had no other relevant financial disclosures. Contact him at [email protected].

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