Could Getting Pregnant Help Psoriatic Arthritis?

A recent Canadian study published in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism announced findings that psoriatic arthritis disease activity showed trends of stabilizing and even improving during pregnancy.

Psoriatic arthritis is a complication of psoriasis that causes inflammatory arthritis and red scales in the joints of patients that lead to joint damage. To learn more about this condition, click here.

In fact, psoriasis improved or remained stable in a low-activity state in the vast majority (88.2%) of pregnancies, and compared to the control, pregnant patients had a significantly better course in skin disease, but not joint disease.

The researchers from the University of Toronto evaluated 29 women between 1990 and 2015 who had a total of 42 pregnancies and matched them with 67 control patients with similar ages who were not pregnant. Even though this was the largest pregnancy study in psoriatic arthritis to date, the sample size was still relatively small, which is why the time frame of the study was 25 years.

In addition, two-thirds of the women took medications for their psoriatic arthritis during the pregnancy, most notably non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (40.5%), disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (35%), and biologic agents (26%). Furthermore, over the years of the study, more women used drugs for psoriatic arthritis during their pregnancies, and the use of biologics as treatment grew, which may have also influenced the positive results.

Even so, the results showed that patients with low psoriatic arthritis activity before conceiving a child had more favorable outcomes during pregnancy, compared to those with high disease activity, so the correlation between pregnancy and improved psoriatic arthritis is clear.

But what are the reasons behind these improvements?

The researchers in the study speculated that higher levels of estrogen during pregnancy may help explain the skin improvement that occurred during pregnancy, but the exact cause is not known for sure.

Still, any developments on the psoriatic disease research front only mean that we are closer and closer to finding a cure.

To learn more about this study in MedPage Today, click here!

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