Updating on pregnancy in rheumatoid arthritis

Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2024 May 20:1-12. doi: 10.1080/1744666X.2024.2356164. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the most prevalent autoimmune disease in reproductive years, exhibits a higher incidence in females, suggesting involvement of estrogens, genetics and environmental factors in disease onset. Literature shows smaller families in RA patients, driving increased interest in Assisted Reproductive Techniques.

Areas covered: This review elucidates how immunotolerance mechanisms contribute to favorable pregnancy outcomes in RA, emphasizing the need for a careful pregnancy planning to mitigate fetal complications and postnatal flares, which surpass those in the general population. A thorough medication evaluation, orchestrated by a multidisciplinary team, is imperative during pregnancy, weighing potential teratogenic effects against safer alternatives to balance medication safety with disease control. A systematic literature search on PubMed and MEDLINE, using specific terms, covered relevant academic journals up to the latest date.

Expert opinion: This narrative review comprehensively addresses pregnancy-related considerations in RA patients, prioritizing meticulous disease management with pregnancy and breastfeeding-compatible drugs in line with the latest recommendations and registry data. The focus remains on evaluating glucocorticoids, conventional, and biological disease-modifying drugs for compatibility during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Additionally, the evolving landscape of targeted synthetic drugs during pregnancy is explored, providing insights into the latest developments in rheumatological care.

Keywords: Pregnancy; contraception; fertility; lactation; rheumatoid arthritis; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review