New funding to study use of arthritis medications during pregnancy

December 13, 2022 (Vancouver) – Women are often diagnosed with arthritis during their childbearing years. While there is information about the effects of arthritis drugs taken during pregnancy the picture is not complete about impacts into childhood and on mothers. By using state-of-the art statistical methods, Arthritis Research Canada scientists will study the use of these medications during pregnancy and how they affect the health of mothers and their children.

The study will also focus on frequency and types of medications taken before and during pregnancy and answering questions such as: How do arthritis medications taken during pregnancy impact the baby’s health in terms of outcomes such as congenital anomalies and birthweight? How do arthritis medications taken during pregnancy impact the mother’s health in terms of outcomes such as gestational diabetes? How do arthritis medications taken during pregnancy impact the growing child’s health in terms of the potential for asthma and autism?

“This research is important because there is still much to learn about how taking medications during pregnancy affect the health of mothers and their children – from infancy to childhood,” said Mary De Vera, Research Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. “It also represents the opportunity to raise awareness that arthritis is truly not an ‘old person’s’ disease in that we also need to think of its impact on pregnancy and childbearing.”

The study will use big healthcare data in BC, which includes information on all visits to doctors, prescriptions filled, and a pregnancy registry of births in the province. With about 50,000 births per year in British Columbia, there will be data on nearly 1 million mothers with at least one pregnancy between January 01, 2002 and December 31, 2022 and their children.

This research will improve the lives of Canadians living with arthritis by providing urgently needed information on how taking arthritis medications during pregnancy impacts the health of mothers and their children. Results will help guide health care professionals as they care for patients with arthritis who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

This study has been funded by a Strategic Operating Grant by Arthritis Society Canada

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Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose life-changing research is creating a future where people living with arthritis have the knowledge and tools to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is now conducting arthritis research from coast to coast with centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and scientists affiliated with six major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, McGill University, and Dalhousie University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at preventing arthritis, facilitating early diagnosis, finding new and better treatment, and improving quality of life.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Victoria Rubio

Marketing and Communications Officer
Arthritis Research Canada
604-207-4010 or vrubio@arthritisresearch.ca

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