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      Expert recommendations to personalization of medical approaches in treatment of multiple sclerosis: an overview of family planning and pregnancy


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          Multiple sclerosis is the most common chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which preferentially affects females at childbearing age. For this reason, patients and treating physicians were frequently confronted with questions concerning family planning, pregnancy and birth. Preventive and personalized treatment approaches are considered, because topics as heredity, risk of congenital malformations, influence of pregnancy on MS and aspects of drug therapy during the period of conception, pregnancy, puerperium and lactation have to be discussed. Here, we provide an overview about the current state of knowledge regarding these issues.

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          Most cited references 83

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          Birth defects after maternal exposure to corticosteroids: prospective cohort study and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies.

          Corticosteroids are first-line drugs for the treatment of a variety of conditions in women of childbearing age. Information regarding human pregnancy outcome with corticosteroids is limited. We collected prospectively and followed up 184 women exposed to prednisone in pregnancy and 188 pregnant women who were counseled by Motherisk for nonteratogenic exposure. The primary outcome was the rate of major birth defects. A meta-analysis of all epidemiological studies was conducted. The Mantel-Haenszel summary odds ratio was calculated for the pooled studies with 95% confidence intervals. A cumulative summary odds ratio was also calculated by combining studies in chronological order. Chi-squared for homogeneity was determined to establish the comparability of the studies. In our prospective study, there was no statistical difference in the rate of major anomalies between the corticosteroid-exposed and control groups. In the meta-analysis, the Mantel-Haenszel summary odds ratio for major malformations with all cohort studies was 1.45 [95% CI 0.80, 2.60] and 3.03 [95% CI 1.08, 8. 54] when Heinonen et al. ('77) was removed. This suggests a marginally increased risk of major malformations after first-trimester exposure to corticosteroids. In addition, summary odds ratio for case-control studies examining oral clefts was significant (3.35 [95% CI 1.97, 5.69]). Although prednisone does not represent a major teratogenic risk in humans at therapeutic doses, it does increase by an order of 3.4-fold the risk of oral cleft, which is consistent with the existing animal studies. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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            Pregnancy and multiple sclerosis (the PRIMS study): clinical predictors of post-partum relapse.

            The influence of pregnancy in multiple sclerosis has been a matter of controversy for a long time. The Pregnancy in Multiple Sclerosis (PRIMS) study was the first large prospective study which aimed to assess the possible influence of pregnancy and delivery on the clinical course of multiple sclerosis. We report here the 2-year post-partum follow-up and an analysis of clinical factors which might predict the likelihood of a relapse in the 3 months after delivery. The relapse rate in each trimester up to the end of the second year post-partum was compared with that in the pre-pregnancy year. Clinical predictors of the presence or absence of a post-partum relapse were analysed by logistic regression analysis. Using the best multivariate model, women were classified as having or not having a post-partum relapse predicted, and this was compared with the observed outcome. The results showed that, compared with the pre-pregnancy year, there was a reduction in the relapse rate during pregnancy, most marked in the third trimester, and a marked increase in the first 3 months after delivery. Thereafter, from the second trimester onwards and for the following 21 months, the annualized relapse rate fell slightly but did not differ significantly from the relapse rate recorded in the pre-pregnancy year. Despite the increased risk for the 3 months post-partum, 72% of the women did not experience any relapse during this period. Confirmed disability continued to progress steadily during the study period. Three indices, an increased relapse rate in the pre-pregnancy year, an increased relapse rate during pregnancy and a higher DSS (Kurtzke's Disability Status Scale) score at pregnancy onset, significantly correlated with the occurrence of a post-partum relapse. Neither epidural analgesia nor breast-feeding was predictive. When comparing the predicted and observed status, however, only 72% of the women were correctly classified by the multivariate model. In conclusion, the results for the second year post-partum confirm that the relapse rate remains similar to that of the pre-pregnancy year, after an increase in the first trimester following delivery. Women with greater disease activity in the year before pregnancy and during pregnancy have a higher risk of relapse in the post- partum 3 months. This is, however, not sufficient to identify in advance women with multiple sclerosis who are more likely to relapse, especially for planning therapeutic trials aiming to prevent post-partum relapses.
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              A genetic basis for familial aggregation in multiple sclerosis. Canadian Collaborative Study Group.

               G Ebers,  A Sadovnick,  N Risch (1995)
              Genetic-environmental interactions probably underlie spontaneous human autoimmune disorders, a category of complex traits thought to include multiple sclerosis (MS). The geographical distribution and familial aggregation of this disease have often been ascribed to the role of infectious agents, but there is no consensus. Increased family risks range from 300-fold for monozygotic twins to 20-40-fold for biological first-degree relatives over the general population prevalence of 0.1% (ref. 6). We screened a population-based sample of 15,000 individuals with MS by using standardized, personally administered questionnaires to identify adopted index cases and/or those who had adopted relatives. The frequency of MS among first-degree non-biological relatives living with the index case was no greater than expected from Canadian population prevalence data and significantly less than for biological relatives. These findings indicate that familial aggregation of MS is genetically determined: no effect of shared environment was detectable.

                Author and article information

                EPMA J
                EPMA J
                The EPMA Journal
                BioMed Central
                22 June 2012
                : 3
                : 1
                : 9
                [1 ]NeuroCure Clinical Research Center and Clinical and Experimental Research Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, Berlin 10117, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Neurology, St. Josef Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum 44801, Germany
                Copyright ©2012 Borisow et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Molecular medicine


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