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25 July 2012 Mefloquine Gap Junction Blockade and Risk of Pregnancy Loss
Remington Lee Nevin
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Obstetric use of the antimalarial drug mefloquine has historically been discouraged during the first trimester and immediately before conception owing to concerns of potential fetal harm. With the rise of resistance to the antimalarial drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), mefloquine is now being considered as a replacement for SP for universal antenatal administration to women from malaria-endemic regions. Recent recommendations have also suggested that mefloquine may be used cautiously among pregnant travelers who cannot otherwise avoid visiting these areas. Mefloquine has been demonstrated to cause blockade of gap junction protein alpha 1 (GJA1) gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC), and recent evidence suggests that GJA1 GJIC is critical to successful embryonic implantation and early placental development. During routine use, mefloquine accumulates in organ and peripheral tissue, crosses the blood-placental barrier, and may plausibly accumulate in developing decidua and trophoblast at concentrations sufficient to interfere with GJA1 GJIC and, thus, cause deleterious effects on fetal outcomes. This conclusion is supported by epidemiological evidence that demonstrates use of the drug during early development is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Confirmatory studies are pending, but the available experimental and epidemiological evidence support renewed adherence, where feasible, to existing mefloquine package insert guidance that women avoid the drug during the periconceptional period.

© 2012 by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc.
Remington Lee Nevin "Mefloquine Gap Junction Blockade and Risk of Pregnancy Loss," Biology of Reproduction 87(3), (25 July 2012).
Received: 30 January 2012; Accepted: 1 July 2012; Published: 25 July 2012
placental transport
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