Purpose: To characterize prednisone use in pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis using individual-level heat-maps and clustering individual trajectories of prednisone dose, and to evaluate the association between prednisone dose trajectory groups and gestational length.
Methods: This study included pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis who enrolled in the MotherToBaby Autoimmune Diseases in Pregnancy Study (2003-2014) before gestational week 20 and reported prednisone use without another oral glucocorticoid during pregnancy (n = 254). Information on medication use and pregnancy outcomes was collected by telephone interview plus by medical record review. Prednisone daily dose and cumulative dose were plotted by gestational day using a heat map for each individual. K-means clustering was used to cluster individual trajectories of prednisone dose into groups. The associations between trajectory group and demographics, disease severity measured by the Health Assessment Questionnaire at enrollment, and gestational length were evaluated.
Results: Women used prednisone 3 to 292 days during pregnancy, with daily doses ranging from <1 to 60 mg. Total cumulative dose ranged from 8 to 6225 mg. Disease severity, non-biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug use, and gestational length varied significantly by trajectory group. After adjusting for disease severity, non-biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug use, and other covariates, the highest vs lowest daily dose trajectory group was associated with reduced gestational age at delivery (β: -2.3 weeks (95%: -3.4, -1.3)), as was the highest vs lowest cumulative dose trajectory group (β: -2.6 weeks (95%: -3.6, -1.5)).
Conclusions: In pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis, patterns of higher prednisone dose were associated with shorter gestational length compared with lower dose.
Keywords: cluster analysis; gestational age; glucocorticoids; pharmacoepidemiology; prednisone; pregnancy; rheumatoid arthritis.
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.