Epub: Michel et al. Increased risk of multiple sclerosis relapse after in vitro fertilisation. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 11.
Background: Exogenous sexual steroids together with pregnancy have been shown to influence the risk of relapses in MS. Treatments used during assisted reproductive techniques may consequently influence the short term evolution of MS by modifying the hormonal status of the MSer.
Objective: To determine if there was an increased risk of developing exacerbations in women with MS after in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Methods: MS and IVF data were either automatically extracted from 13 French university hospital databases or obtained from referring neurologists. After matching databases, MSer clinical files were systematically reviewed to collect information about MS and the treatments used for IVF. The association between IVF and the occurrence of MS relapses was analysed in detail using univariate and multivariate statistical tests.
Findings: During the 11 year study period, 32 women with MS had undergone 70 IVF treatments, 48 using gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and 19 using GnRH antagonists. A significant increase in the annualised relapse rate (ARR) was observed during the 3 month period following IVF (mean ARR 1.60, median ARR 0) compared with the same period just before IVF (mean ARR 0.80, median ARR 0) and to a control period 1 year before IVF (mean ARR 0.68, median ARR 0). The significant increase in relapses was associated with the use of GnRH agonists (Wilcoxon paired test, p=0.025) as well as IVF failure (Wilcoxon paired test, p=0.019).
Interpretation: An increased relapse rate was observed in this study after IVF in patients with MS and may be partly related both to IVF failure and the use of GnRH agonists.
“Although, this is not good news for woman with MS the risks appear relatively small, i.e. a doubling of the risk. What do you think?”