Pregnancy and hydroxychloroquine

AbiDavies Member Posts: 3
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:05 in Living with arthritis

Hi everyone I'd really love some advice please from anyone who's been in the same boat. I've had RA for years and got to a mild stage where I wasn't needing medication. During my 1st pregnancy 2 years ago, my symptoms flared and changed a bit to primarily Sjogrens, and I've been taking hydroxychloroquine since I stopped breast feeding, which has really helps to control flare ups. I've just found out I'm pregnant again and I don't know whether to stop taking it or keep going? Official advice is that it's fine to take throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I feel like I should maybe try life without and see what happens? I don't really like the idea of some of the medication passing to the baby, but I'm also stressing about the idea of uncontrolled flare ups and worse joint pain.

Would really appreciate any advice and other's experiences, thank you, Abi.


  • AlanM
    AlanM Member Posts: 46

    Hi Abi and welcome the forum. Its good to see you here.

    You're concerned about any possible impact on your pregnancy of continuing to take hydroxychloroquine, and implications for RA control if you stop taking it, and are looking for insight and possible reassurance.

    First of all, congratulations! There will undoubtedly be others on this forum who can share their experiences of managing their RA while pregnant. It will, of course, be important to keep in close touch with your Rheumatology Team and/or whoever else supports you to manage your condition. If you haven't already, please have a browse through our website. There may be some information in there that helps you to think through your options.

    Also, it might be worth having a chat to our Helpline, who can help you work through some of the questions you have.

    And, of course, members of the forum will have their own supportive insights to offer.

    Good luck, Abi, and we look forward to seeing you here and hearing about your progress.

    Best wishes


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,719

    Hi Abi,

    I had my children many years ago but, like you, I was concerned about what drugs might cross the placenta and potentially harm them. Back then modern DMARDS weren’t on offer so it was more should I / shouldn’t I take anti-inflamms. I didn’t. Unlike yours, my first pregnancy went like a dream. No arthritis at all until after he was born then wham! There was no such luck with son number two. The nine months was horrible. I could only take soluble aspirin but, even so, it all got worse after he was born and now I had two little ones to deal with.

    Personally, I’d be guided by your rheumatologist. They are finding out new stuff all the time about what is and isn’t safe. I certainly, based on my own experiences, wouldn’t attempt to "try life without and see what happens”. You really don’t want to be flaring in pregnancy but even less do you want to flare when you have two small people to care for.

    Some people on here have successfully taken steroids during pregnancy. I’d certainly have a word with your rheumatologist or, at least, GP. A phone conversation would do. Just to be sure. Good luck.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • AbiDavies
    AbiDavies Member Posts: 3

    Thank you both for the advice and info, really appreciated. I have spoken to the RA helpline at my hospital and their guidance is that you don't need to stop taking Hydroxy, either during pregnancy or if breastfeeding, so I think you are right; flare up and constant symptoms is probably not worth it, if the guidance is in fact that it is safe.