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Keywords:

  • fetal outcome;
  • levodopa;
  • pramipexole;
  • pregnancy;
  • restless legs syndrome;
  • ropinirole;
  • rotigotine

Background

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is related to parity, and its symptoms may worsen during pregnancy. Treatment with levodopa or dopamine agonists is the first-line therapy for RLS; however, there are limited data on treatment in pregnancy. We therefore assessed the safety of levodopa, pramipexole, rotigotine, and ropinirole in pregnancy.

Methods

Prospective documentation of pregnancies exposed to levodopa, pramipexole, rotigotine, and ropinirole between 1998 and 2011 was evaluated as to their outcome (teratogenicity or fetotoxicity) by the Berlin Institute for Clinical Teratology and Drug Risk Assessment in Pregnancy.

Results

We were able to complete 59 pregnancy outcomes exposed to RLS pharmacotherapy. For specific treatments, the numbers of exposed pregnancies/live born children/spontaneous abortions/induced abortions/malformations were as follows: levodopa only: 38/29 (one pair of twins)/3/7/3; pramipexole only: 12/9/3/0/0; rotigotine only: 2/2/0/0/0; ropinirole only: 3/2/0/1/0; levodopa combined with pramipexole: 3/3/0/0/0; levodopa combined with ropinirole: 1/1/0/0/0. No major birth defects were found with any RLS treatment, and three infants exposed to levodopa had minor anomalies.

Conclusions

In our small prospective case series, there was no increased risk above baseline for major malformations or other adverse outcomes for levodopa and pramipexole. If necessary, levodopa treatment may be considered as an alternative to cabergoline, for which safety has been well documented in pregnancy.