Updated pharmacological management of rheumatoid arthritis for women before, during, and after pregnancy, reflecting recent guidelines.


Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Disease Unit, Our Lady's Hospice an Dublin d Care Services, Harold's Cross, Ireland. [Email]


BACKGROUND : Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease which can cause significant disability, morbidity, mortality, and impaired fertility. It commonly affects women of childbearing age. Managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the perinatal period poses challenges. There is concern about the teratogenic effects of many traditional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and an ever-growing list of new therapeutic options with limited data in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
OBJECTIVE : We aimed to create a standardized approach to pharmacological management of RA patients seen in our newly established Rheumatology and Reproductive Health Service.
METHODS : We reviewed relevant publications on the use of anti-rheumatic drugs in pregnancy. These include recent guidelines from The British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) and British Health Professionals in Rheumatology (BHPR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR).
RESULTS : After considering relevant publications, we developed a Saint Vincent's University Hospital/National Maternity Hospital consensus protocol for evidence-based medication in pregnancy in RA.
CONCLUSIONS : RA tends to improve during pregnancy and flare postpartum. Several anti-rheumatic medication options during pregnancy and breastfeeding are now available including anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents. Good disease control at all stages of reproduction is important to ensure best outcome for both mother and baby.


Arthritis,Peripartum,Pregnancy,Rheumatoid arthritis,Teratogen,

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