Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Contraception Use by Women with RA and PsA Assessed

Clin Rheumatol; ePub 2019 Jan 16; Leverenz, et al

Approximately two-thirds of women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) reported using effective or highly effective methods of contraception, though women with PsA were more likely to report no methods of contraception, according to a recent study. Researchers combined the data from several cross-sectional surveys of women aged <40 with RA or PsA. 2 surveys recruited participants from a clinic setting, and the third survey recruited participants from, an online forum for patients with inflammatory arthritis. They found:

  • Of the 164 women included, 138 had RA (67 in RA Clinic Survey, 71 in CreakyJoints Survey) and 26 had PsA (19 in PsA Clinic Survey, 7 in CreakyJoints Survey).
  • Use of specific contraceptive and rheumatic medications were similar between the clinic and online surveys.
  • In the pooled analysis of the Clinic and CreakyJoints survey data, women with RA and PsA reported similar utilization of highly effective contraception methods (31.9% RA, 34.6% PsA) and effective methods (31.2% RA, 30.8% PsA), but different utilization of ineffective methods (35.5% RA, 11.5% PsA) and no methods (1.5% RA, 23.1% PsA).

Leverenz DL, Eudy AM, Jayasundara M, et al. Contraception methods used by women with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. [Published online ahead of print January 16, 2019]. Clin Rheumatol. doi:10.1007/s10067-018-04420-1.


This study evaluated the use of various methods of contraception by women aged <40 years with inflammatory arthritis. Researchers evaluated 138 participants with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 26 with psoriatic arthritis; 65 were taking RA medications. Tubal ligation, vasectomy, or intrauterine devices were used by 32% of patients with RA and 35% of psoriatic arthritis patients. Hormonal contraceptives were used by 31% of each group. Researchers concluded that rheumatologists should discuss contraceptive use on a case-by-case basis with their patients and address any concerns about effects of RA medications on pregnancy.—Harold E. Paulus, M.D.; Emeritus Professor; University of California, Los Angeles; Division of Rheumatology.