Video

Pregnancy may be ideal time to consider switching MS drugs

 

Key clinical point: Multiple sclerosis relapse rates are similar before and after pregnancy, suggesting it may be a good time to consider switching medications if feasible.

Major finding: 49% of women who were pregnant after MS diagnosis reported relapses in the 2 years prior to pregnancy and 46% reported them in the 2 subsequent years. Those who had relapses prior to pregnancy were more likely to have them afterward, too.

Study details: Survey of 109 women who became pregnant after MS diagnosis.

Disclosures: Teva funded the study. Several study authors report various disclosures, including relationships with Teva.

Source: Vaughn C. et al. Abstract FC04, 2018 annual meeting, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.


 

REPORTING FROM THE CMSC ANNUAL MEETING

Limelight Video

– Women with multiple sclerosis who fare poorly on specific medications before pregnancy don’t tend to do any better afterward, a new study finds. This suggests that pregnancy – a period when many women with MS stop taking their medication – should trigger discussions about switching from drugs that aren’t doing the job, the study’s lead author said.

“It’s a good time to consider the therapy that the individual is on, whether it’s one that’s effective for them, and whether it’s one they should return to when they start up therapy post-partum. It’s likely it will affect them the same way” after pregnancy as before, Caila Vaughn, MPH, PhD, of the University of Buffalo, said in an interview at the 2018 annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Clinics.

From 2012-2017, the study authors sent surveys to 1,651 women in the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium as part of an effort to understand how pregnancy affects women with MS, especially when relapses return in the post-partum period.

Of the 1,651 women, 635 (38% of the total) agreed to answer questions about their reproductive history.

Pregnancy data was available for 627 patients of whom 490 (78%) had been pregnant. Of those, 109 said they became pregnant after their MS diagnosis.

Fifty-three (49%) reported relapses in the 2 years prior to pregnancy and 46% reported them in the 2 subsequent years. Just 12% reported relapses during pregnancy, and 16% said they took disease-modifying drugs during pregnancy (60% had taken them before pregnancy).

Why does MS become less severe during pregnancy? “We believe the dormancy of the disease is related to an immune system that is naturally decreased and depressed during pregnancy,” Dr. Vaughn said. Afterward, she said, “the relapses are related to the recovery of the immune system post-partum.”

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