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Risk of onset of MS

I suffer from seronegative rheumatoid arthritis and currently am on Abatacept and methotrexate. My disease control has been great until recently I have had a flare which caused me to see my rheumatologist where I also wanted to discuss changing meds to something ‘safe’ for conception/ pregnancy. He told me, quite bluntly, my only real safe choice are anti-TNFs. I was previously advised against having these as my auntie and cousin both suffer from multiple sclerosis and there is an increased risk of these drugs causing an onset of MS. I have completely lost hope of being able to have children and am really upset. The Dr couldn’t really tell me what the risk factor for anti-TNFs are and wasn’t hugely helpful about other potential options. Please can you advise whether anti-TNFs really are too risky, or if there are any other ‘safe’ medications I could explore? Thank you


  • Hi fsouthwood

    I've not heard any of connection between biologic drugs and risk of MS where there's a family history. I will raise this with my colleagues in our Information team and come back to you in a few days when they are able to reply. (They are under greatly increased workloads with Covid.)

    You can read more about arthritis treatments and pregnancy at this link: Pregnancy, fertility and arthritis | Drugs, breastfeeding and supplements (versusarthritis.org)

    Best wishes

    Guy (Helpline Team)

  • Hi fsouthwood

    My colleague in our information team has come back, that it's not something we have information about. She's pointed out that there are pregnancy safe drugs which are mentioned in our literature, which you might use as a basis for discussion.

    Some centres have obstetrics and rheumatology clinics, and it's worth pointing out that neurology and rheumatology work closely together, so there may be some other professional who might offer insight from an MS perspective, unfortunately that area goes beyond our scope.

    very best wishes

    Guy (Helpline team)

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