Increased rates of effective and highly effective contraception use have been reported in women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA), but women with PsA were less likely to utilize any form of contraception compared with women with RA, according to study results published in Clinical Rheumatology.

The investigators sought to evaluate contraceptive methods in young women (<40 years) with RA or PsA, linking the efficacy of various contraception techniques with the use of concomitant anti-rheumatic medications. Researchers compiled data from 3 cross-sectional surveys; 2 recruited participants from a clinic setting, while the third recruited participants from an online forum for patients with inflammatory arthritis. A total of 164 women were included in the study, 138 of whom had RA and 26 had PsA. Use of contraceptive methods and anti-rheumatic medications was similar in women from the clinic surveys and women from the online survey.

Women with RA and women with PsA reported similar use of highly effective contraception methods (31.9% in women with RA and 34.6% in women with PsA) and effective contraception methods (31.2% in RA and 30.8% in PsA). In contrast, significantly different utilization of ineffective (35.5% in RA and 11.5% in PsA) and no contraception methods (1.5% in RA and 23.1% in PsA) was reported (P =.0002). These percentages were similar in subgroups treated with methotrexate, anti-tumor necrosis factor biologic agents, and novel anti-rheumatic therapies.

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Data show that approximately two-thirds of women with RA and PsA reported the use of effective or highly effective methods of contraception, although women with PsA tended to be more likely to report no use of contraception. Moreover, researchers observed a trend toward fewer discussions between rheumatologists and women with PsA about contraception.  

The results of this study highlight the key role played by rheumatologists in providing appropriate contraception counseling to their female patients.

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Leverenz DL, Eudy AM, Jayasundara M, et al. Contraception methods used by women with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis [published online January 16, 2019]. Clin Rheumatol. doi:10.1007/s10067-018-04420-1