Treatment Patterns and Resource Utilization of Pregnant Women with Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases or Psoriasis in Germany: A Claims Database Analysis

Rheumatol Ther. 2021 Dec;8(4):1565-1584. doi: 10.1007/s40744-021-00347-3. Epub 2021 Aug 24.


Background: Uncontrolled inflammatory disease activity can impact pregnancy outcomes and the health of the mother and child. This retrospective claims database analysis assessed treatment patterns before, during, and after pregnancy among women with inflammatory rheumatic disease (IRD; axial spondyloarthritis [axSpA], psoriatic arthritis [PsA], and rheumatoid arthritis [RA]) or psoriasis (PSO) in Germany.

Methods: Data were extracted from the BARMER sickness fund (2013-2017). Pregnant women (18-45 years) with documented IRD or PSO diagnoses were compared with age-matched controls from the same database for the analysis of patient characteristics, healthcare resource utilization, and pharmacological treatment during pregnancy. Reported measures included the proportion of women with pharmacological prescriptions or hospitalization/new prescription of corticosteroids or biologics in the 180 days before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and 180 days after delivery. Pre-specified prescription categories (such as disease-specific drugs [not including biologics]) were identified by anatomical therapeutic chemical classification codes. Extrapolated values to the German statutory health insurance population are reported.

Results: Overall, 2702 pregnant women with IRD (axSpA: 1063; PsA: 660; RA: 979) and 6527 with PSO were identified. The proportion of women with IRD receiving prescriptions for disease-specific drugs reduced during pregnancy and remained stable after delivery (before: 15.0%; during: 9.0%; after: 9.7%). The proportion of women with PSO receiving prescriptions for disease-specific drugs was low (before: 0.6%; during: 0.3%; after: 0.1%). The proportion of women with hospitalization/new prescription of corticosteroids or biologics decreased during pregnancy, compared with pre-pregnancy, and increased after delivery in women with IRD (before: 9.0%; during: 5.1%; after: 11.1%) and PSO (before: 3.5%; during: 1.9%; after: 2.7%).

Conclusions: A reduction in pharmacological treatment during pregnancy was observed for women with IRD in Germany. Many women with IRD did not return to pre-pregnancy treatments after delivery, despite signs of disease exacerbation, such as hospitalization and initiation of treatment with corticosteroids/biologics, in this period.

Keywords: Axial spondyloarthritis; Claims data; Healthcare resource utilization; Inflammatory rheumatic disease; Pregnant women; Psoriasis; Psoriatic arthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Treatment patterns.