Pregnancy does not lead to long-term changes in the disease course of multiple sclerosis (MS), new research suggests.
This work, which emphasizes the importance of careful data analysis, supports studies disputing previous beliefs that pregnancy worsened or lessened the long-term disease course of MS.
The findings were presented by Mar Tintore, MD, PhD, in a plenary lecture titled “Multiple Sclerosis” (number 0452), at the XXIV World Congress of Neurology (WCN 2019), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Oct. 27–31).
Tintore is the clinical chief of neurology in the Neurology–Neuroimmunology Department at the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia at the Hospital Vall d’Hebron, in Barcelona, Spain.
Since MS occurs more frequently among women of childbearing age, the potential impact of pregnancy in the course of the disease, and vice-versa (including the effects of MS treatments), has been the focus of numerous studies.
While until the 1980s it was thought that pregnancy worsened the clinical course of the disease, several subsequent studies suggested that pregnancy and breastfeeding slowed MS progression.
“To advertise that pregnancy has a very important impact and will positively modify your long-term prognosis is something we must be cautious about because studies show it is not true,” Tintore said in a press release.
She emphasized that this “may cause confusion” among patients, who may believe pregnancy “can replace treatment,” and among providers who may think it could “treat the disease.”
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