This study, which is one of the first of its kind, collated responses from rheumatologists (52% consultants) and obstetricians (94% consultants) on the subject of patient education on safe treatments for use during pregnancy, the existence of local guidelines on treating this patient population, and recorded HCP use of several individual drugs used during the pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding period.
The survey results outlined variations around the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) with 32% of rheumatologists and 18% of obstetricians opting to continue treatment whilst 67% of rheumatologists and 39% of obstetricians opted to discontinue these treatments during pregnancy.
"The results of our study have shown that there are several different approaches to treating women of a childbearing age with rheumatic conditions. Whilst healthcare practitioners are aware that they should consult a specialist when unsure of a treatment decision, best practice guidelines, developed with consensus between rheumatologists, obstetricians and specialist nurses would benefit healthcare practitioners in the UK and Europe greatly" said Dr Sonia Panchal, University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust, UK.
Only 25% of rheumatologists and 6% of obstetricians had guidelines that were locally developed for the management of this patient population. The results of the survey also showed that there were several variations in approaches to prescribing specific treatments in the group:
- The majority of rheumatologists (92%), but only half of obstetricians (54%) would discontinue anti-TNF treatment during pregnancy
- 95% rheumatologists compared to 52% of obstetricians would discontinue rituximab
Regarding other treatments for rheumatic conditions, there was considerable variation in practice with regard to prescribing medications including sulphasalazine (Salazopyrin), azathioprine (Imuran / Azasan) and methotrexate (Rheumatrex).
The questionnaire was distributed to 1000 HCPs across the UK, via the British Society of Rheumatology and the British Maternal Foetal Medicine Society. Responses were received from 102 rheumatologists and 33 obstetricians and responses were analysed using online software.
Abstract Number: OP0135
NOTES TO EDITORS: For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress Press Office in room N12 (opposite the exhibition hall) of the Congress Centre during EULAR 2011 or on: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Onsite tel: +44 7901 513 297
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The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is the organisation which represents the patient, health professional and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations. In line with The European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), EULAR defines rheumatology as including rheumatic diseases of the connective tissue, locomotor and musculoskeletal systems. The aims of EULAR are to stimulate, promote, and support the research, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of rheumatic diseases. To this end, EULAR fosters excellence in education and research in the field of rheumatology. It promotes the translation of research advances into daily care and fights for the recognition of the needs of people with rheumatic diseases. Diseases of the bone and joints such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis cause disability in 4-5% of the adult population and are predicted to rise as people live longer. EULAR 2011 is set to be the biggest rheumatology event in Europe with over 15,000 scientists, physicians, allied health professionals, and related audiences in attendance from over 100 countries. Over the course of the congress, almost 300 oral and more than 1600 poster abstract presentations will be featured, with 300 invited speaker lectures taking place in more than 140 sessions. To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit: www.eular.org