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Oral Contraceptives May Improve Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Oral Contraceptives May Improve Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

A team of researchers from United Kingdom revealed by a study, that oral contraceptives improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in some women. This study may add another piece in the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis, because the researchers believe that the female hormones play a important role in determining the time of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

With this study, the British researchers, observed that women who had used oral contraceptives before and at the time of the onset of the disease, had better functional outcomes than those who had not used the drugs and the women who used the oral contraceptives after the onset of rheumatoid arthritis had better outcomes, but only if they had a moderate or severe disability.

In this study were included a number of  928 patients with recent-onset of rheumatoid  arthritis and the purpose was to examine the relationship between the use of oral contraceptives and functional outcome of rheumatoid arthritis. The study included 663 women who had not used oral contraceptives after they were diagnosed with the disease and during follow-up controls, and 265 women who had used oral contraceptives after they were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Oral Contraceptives

The group of women who used oral contraceptives before the onset of rheumatoid arthritis had significantly better functional outcomes during the follow-up examination than the group of patients who had not used oral contraceptives before the onset of the symptoms. Furthermore, women who were taking oral contraceptives at a baseline had better functional outcomes than women who were not taking oral contraceptives at a baseline but who had previously done so.

Women with rheumatoid arthritis and with moderate or severe functional disability who used oral contraceptives during the follow-up period had better functional outcomes compared with similar patients who did not use oral contraceptives. The authors conclude that the use of oral contraceptives is generally associated with a beneficial functional outcome in rheumatoid arthritis and the use of this drugs before the appearance of the symptoms seems to have the most consistent benefit.

The researchers said that it is surprising that the use of oral contraceptives before the occurrence of the symptoms may have a benefit on functional outcomes many years later and it is interesting to think what might be the mechanisms underlying the association between the use of oral contraceptives and rheumatoid arthritis. The authors of the study also observed that the use of oral contraceptives and also the use of higher dosages of estrogens, are improving the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, but not as  much as regular medication for rheumatoid arthritis, such as methotrexate.