FDA removes pregnancy category C warning from certain MS medications


The Food and Drug Administration has updated the labels for peginterferon beta-1a (Plegridy) and interferon beta-1a (Avonex) to include more information about usage of these medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding in women with multiple sclerosis (MS).

FDA icon Wikimedia Commons/FitzColinGerald/ Creative Commons License

The FDA based the decision on data from more than 1,000 real-world pregnancies, including pregnancies from a large epidemiologic study and published studies over several decades, which found no connection between use of interferon-beta products during early pregnancy and an increased risk of major birth defects, according to the FDA.

As a result, the labels for both medications will no longer have the pregnancy category C designation; however, patients should continue to notify their health care provider if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA decision to remove the warning follows a similar decision by the European Medicines Agency last year.

“Many women with MS are diagnosed during their childbearing years. With this important update for Plegridy and Avonex, healthcare providers have more data to inform appropriate treatment paths for patients who may be pregnant or planning for pregnancy,” said Bernd Kieseier, MD, MHBA, executive director and head of global MS at Worldwide Medical, Biogen, in a press release.

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