Arthritis is a disease characterized by joint pain, tenderness and stiffness. It is pretty easy to get medication for this type of disease with just a prescription. Unfortunately, things get a bit more complicated when you are pregnant. It’s not safe to pick up any medication and use it immediately to get rid of your pain because it could have a negative impact on the baby’s health. The question is whether you can use arthritis medication during pregnancy or not.
The organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) conducted a research in order to determine whether the current agents used for treating arthritis are safe to use during pregnancy. The research was led by Christina Chambers, Ph.D. According to the results of the research some of the medications for arthritis joint pain are safe to use, while others can be dangerous due to the fact that they could induce various birth defects. Here is some information about the medication for arthritis:
Sulfasalazine during pregnancy
There have been several observational studies conducted over 400 women treated with sulfasalazine during pregnancy. The studies didn’t find any dangers of consuming sulfasalazine during pregnancy. It has been generally characterized as a “safe to use” drug.
Leflunomide (Arava) during pregnancy
OTIS inspected the effects of leflunomide on pregnant women suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The study involved 121 women, 43 of which received leflunomide treatment for their RA. The results showed that the infants exposed to leflunomide were smaller than those whose mothers didn’t take any medication for RA. According to Arthritis.org leflunomide is listed as an off-limits drug due to its potential for a miscarriage.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenl) during pregnancy
The studies made so far with cloroquine and hydroxychloroquine show that there’s an increased risk of spontaneous abortion and preterm delivery. The researchers tend to point out the fact that these side-effects are associated with maternal underlying disease more likely than the medications. So far, the drugs are considered safe to use but it’s not recommended to take them while breastfeeding.
Azathoprine (Imuran) during pregnancy
So far, 90 babies born to women treated with azathioprine for rheumatoid arthritis were tested to determine if the drug has any side-effects but they couldn’t find any problems. The test involving azathioprine hasn’t found any irregularities with the drug and is considered safe to use.
Some of the medication for treating arthritis is completely off-limits for any pregnant women because it can cause birth defects and can lead to miscarriage. The list of off-limits drugs consists of chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, warfarin.
At the same time, there is some medication that has been labeled as safe to use without any further testing needed. The three drugs that are safe to use during pregnancy consist of cyclosporine, corticosteroids, heparin.
You should be careful what type of arthritis medications are you using during pregnancy. Although some of them are considered to be safe, some of them could prove harmful for you. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication.