Infliximab May Affect Semen Quality

Published Online: Friday, July 1, 2005

Infliximab can effectively treat Crohn's disease. Until now, however, no studies had been performed to assess the effect of infliximab on semen quality in men of reproductive age.

In the April 2005 issue of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Uma Mahadevan, MD, and colleagues presented results from a small study (n = 10) of men receiving infliximab for the treatment of Crohn's disease, indeterminate colitis, or ulcerative colitis. Seven of the patients were in remission and receiving maintenance infliximab therapy. The other 3 patients, with moderate-to-severe illness, were receiving their initial infliximab treatments. Each patient provided semen samples on 2 dates preceding infusion and 1 sample a week after infusion.

Semen volume after infusion of infliximab was significantly increased in all patients (P = .013), compared with preinfusion samples. In addition, decreased sperm motility was observed after treatment (P = .061). Sperm development appeared to be affected in patients receiving maintenance therapy. The number of normal oval forms was significantly reduced (P = .038) after infliximab infusion. These findings suggest that infliximab therapy may affect sperm development and motility and, therefore, could affect fertility. Further investigations are warranted.

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