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Transplacental passage of belimumab during pregnancy and follow-up of a child exposed in utero
  1. Helle Bitter1,
  2. David John Warren2,
  3. Nils Bolstad2,
  4. Anne LIndtner Noraas3,
  5. Monika Elisabeth Ostensen1
  1. 1 Department of Rheumatology, Sorlandet Hospital Kristiansand, Kristiansand, Norway
  2. 2 Department of Medical Biochemistry, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3 Rheumatology Specialists of Kristiansand, Kristiansand, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Helle Bitter, Dept of Rheumatology, Sorlandet Hospital Kristiansand, Kristiansand, Norway; helle.bitter{at}

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A recent report from the Belimumab Pregnancy Registry (NCT01532310) analysed available data on the consequences of belimumab (BEL) use in pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).1 Although limited by multiple confounders and methodological differences, the study did not reveal an increased risk of birth defects or pregnancy losses among women treated with BEL.

Transplacental passage of BEL has been studied in cynomolgus macaques but not conclusively demonstrated to occur in humans.2 Thus, questions related to transplacental passage of BEL include: Does it occur in humans and to what extent? How long does it take until BEL is cleared post-partum?

Based on our previous report of immunologic changes observed at birth and during 7 months of follow-up in a child exposed prenatally to BEL,3 we have studied the transfer of BEL in this mother-and-child pair.

Case report

A 29-year-old woman with SLE from 2005 with arthritis and skin disease had a severe lupus flare during her first pregnancy in 2005–2006. She delivered at gestational …

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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors HB and MEO conceived the idea for the study and interpreted the results. HB and ALN performed the clinical follow-up of the patient and her child. DJW and NB performed the laboratory analysis. HB, DJW, NB and MEO critically reviewed the paper. All authors approved the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.