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Acta Neurol Scand. 2004 Jul;110(1):23-6.

The relapse rate of multiple sclerosis changes during pregnancy: a cohort study.

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1
Institute of Neuropsychiatry, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the influence of pregnancy and puerperium on the relapse rate of multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODS:

We determined retrospectively the yearly mean relapse rate (MRR) during pregnancies occurring in the course of relapsing-remitting MS. We compared the MRR of pregnancy-time with that of non-pregnancy time by paired t-test. Relative risk (RR) of relapses during the pregnancy-time was also compared with that of non-pregnancy time by chi(2) analysis and 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS:

From a population of 351 women affected by clinically definite MS, only 70 reported pregnancies during their relapsing-remitting phase of MS for a total of 98 pregnancies. Both MRR (P = 0.006) and RR (RR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.40-0.94) decreased during the three trimesters of pregnancy. RR increased in the first 3 months of puerperium, although this was not statistically significant (RR = 1.36, 95% CI = 0.79-2.20).

CONCLUSION:

Our study confirms that in MS the relapse rate decreases throughout pregnancy and increases during puerperium. This suggests a complex interplay between hormonal and immune factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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