Onset of Multiple Sclerosis


Hello, I suffer from seronegative rheumatoid arthritis and am currently on Abatacept and Mtx. I was hoping to change to ‘safer’ drugs as I am hoping to conceive in the next few years, however there is a prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis in my family (Auntie and cousin) and so I was warned against using anti-TNFs which seem to be the only ‘safe’ option during pregnancy/ trying to conceive. I’m hoping that someone has some advice on what the risk of causing the onset of MS is as I’ve ran out of hope after a somewhat deflating appointment in which the Dr couldn’t really offer me any advice and has left me feeling like the chance of having children is very low for me. Thanks in advance!


  • Hi @fsouthwood,

    Welcome to the online community, it’s lovely to have you here.

    I see that you’re concerned about the potential risk of anti-TNFs to cause the onset of MS, as you have a family history of it – while also wanting to move away from your current medications as you are hoping to conceive within the next few years. It’s understandable that you feel deflated after your appointment.

    You’re right to avoid mixing MTX/abatacept and pregnancy. Here’s some links for more info:

    Abatacept | Side-effects, uses, time to work (versusarthritis.org)

    Methotrexate | Side-effects, uses, time to work (versusarthritis.org)

    Shot in the dark, but I’m wondering if your doctor has mentioned the possibility of you speaking with a genetic/genomic counsellor? They are clinical scientists who can advise you on your risk of diseases with a heritable element. Perhaps you could also enquire about seeing a fertility specialist.

    I notice that you also posted to the Helpline Team forum. I hope they will be able to provide you with some good advice. If you want to talk to someone over the phone, you can also call the helpline on weekdays, 9am to 8pm.

    Do let us know how you get on, and feel free to browse the forums and join in wherever you like.

    Best wishes,

    Sarah (mod) x