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1544019 tn?1318504526

Does anyone know about RA and Enbrel during pregnancy?

I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 19 years old.  I'm now 32 and pregnant.  I've been giving myself shots of Enbrel to control it since 2001.  When we started doing IVF treatments to get pregnant, I went off of the Enbrel.  For the first two trimesters, my RA seemed to go into remission and I didn't need any treatments - which was a MIRACLE!  Now I'm starting my third trimester (I'm 27 weeks) and I am starting to have ALL SORTS of complications with my joints.  Pain, swelling, can barely move.  The reason I'm posting this here is because my OB says it's okay to give myself a shot of Enbrel, but my Rheumatologist says it's not.  I don't know why there is a discrepency in their opinions and what I should do.  Anyone out there have RA and gone through a pregnancy?  What did you do?  Thanks so much, everyone!
9 Responses
1656155 tn?1313008474
I live with chronic pain osteoarthritis, and i have three kids i'm pregnant with my fourth now.  I cant' take any meds i suggest you don't and i say go on bed rest or use hot and cold therapy because, my son Elijah was born with cp not chronic pain but cerebral pulsey, his brain dose not function right, he has delayed mortar skills he can not eat he has a feeding tube in his stomach and a shunt in his brain draining the fluid off his brain to his stomach, and it's because of the medications the doctors wanted me to take while i was pregnant with him. so now i'm pregnant again, i will not take anything and i cant live a normal life i'm sick and tired of my pain but my next child will not go threw any thing like that again. Any kind of meds can affect the baby even if some doctors say it's okay. Sure you can take a chance at it. but the results you will live with for-ever. I wish you the best for you and your baby, I live on bed rest at four months right now, i wish i could do something i wish i could have a life and i will after my baby is born. until then i'm giving him or her a life.  
I'm here for me if you need me. I hope you have some good support from the father and family, and I hope your delivery goes well with a healthy baby.
1544019 tn?1318504526
I'm so sorry to hear about your pain, saraberry.  I can totally relate.  Even though osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two totally different diseases, having chronic pain is the same and it's SO hard.  Yes, luckily, I am married to a SUPER supportive man who has been taking care of me and our two year old (adopted) son while I'm on bed rest.  So that's good.

About taking Enbrel during pregnancy, I have had to do a TON of research about the subject myself since there are discrepencies in the doctors viewpoints. The problem is that Enbrel is a relatively "new" drug. I have been taking it basically since it came out (since 2001). But there are unfortunately not many studies done with pregnant women. Some articles and information I've read say that it's a category B medication. Which is what tylenol is, so it should be fine. Other articles claim it is a category C. I'm thinking (and feeling) that one shot would be okay. In fact, I would rather give myself an Enbrel shot than take prednisone (which is normally what they give pregnant women with RA if they need medication. But I LOATHE prednisone and it's side effects. However - they say it's "safe.") Enbrel has always been good to me and I think it would be okay to take right now. I'm having an internal battle, though, since there's so little sutidies/information about it and my doctors have different ideas. I know I need to do what I feel is right, though. I'll keep thinking and praying about it. And studying. In the meantime, though, I'm in a lot of pain. So I'll need to hurry with whatever I decide :)  The interesting thing is that it's only the left side of my body that's bothering me.  My shoulder, my elbow (probably the worst along with my knee), my wrist, my hip, my knee and my ankle.  

My husband actually called a pregnancy hotline today and the woman there said it's okay to take Enbrel up until about one week prior to delivering.  So that gave me some relief.  Then she proceeded to tell him all the complications that just having Rheumatoid Arthritis can carry - stillbirths, preterm labor, etc.  I was thinking, "Oh, great!  Calm my fears about taking meds, but then tell me that just having the disease can cause these complications!'  Oh well.  I already knew that about having RA and I know I'm high risk and my OB is aware too, so I'm sure it's okay.

Anyway - good luck to you and I hope you feel well too!
1544019 tn?1318504526
So just an update about this.  Just when we finally got cleared for me to take the Enbrel while pregnant, we find out it's not going to be into the pharmacy until Friday AND it's going to cost $900!!!  BUT it turns out it will actually probably be safer for me TO take the Enbrel. I have to control my arthritis because if I don't control it, (according to the lady at the pregnancy risk hotline we talked to today) Rheumatoid ARthritis puts me at risk for still birth and preterm labor. She said the Enbrel can be taken up to one week before I deliver. Which is a miracle, really, because I have had such a horrible flare the last two days. And it's gotten bad REALLY fast. So I was all excited to be able to give myself an Enbrel shot - knowing how well it helps me. Then we realized that I am out of shots (because I haven't given myself any since we started trying to do IVF - just to be safe. It's actually AMAZING that I went into remission until now. BLESSING!) so we tried to order more tonight from the pharmacy and they can't get it in until FRIDAY! I am in so much pain. And THEN they added the part about the insurance deductible needing to be met and how it's going to cost $900. SIGH. I used to have better insurance and the copay for Enbrel was only $25. I guess I should be GRATEFUL that all those years of taking it (10+) it only cost me $25 per month when it retails for over $3000 a month. Just sad that I have to be "making up for it" now. Okay, I'm done ranting. And whining. It's just hard when I'm in so much pain. But once Friday comes and I get a shot in me, I'm sure I"ll be doing much better and feeling okay about all of this. Thanks for your compassion, everyone!
Avatar universal
  I am now 8 weeks pregnant and was in remission up until a month ago. The flare was a sign I was pregnant. I couldn't believe it was back...then a week or so later I found out I was pregnant. I am taking a low dose of predisone and I take 50 mg's of enbrel. I am so nervous taking these meds. My rheumy told me that it's better to have a healthy mom then one that is in pain. There can be complications with taking no meds. I pray that the meds won't harm my baby. I will be seeing the high risk Dr at the end of this month. So anxious...just want to know everything is ok!
Avatar universal
I just joined,  was wondering where you inject since you are pregnant, do you inject in the stomach? I found injecting in the stomach is less painful (very much so) ...I hate the burning sensation!!!
My husband and I are considering trying for another baby soon. If I did stay on enbrel during the pregnancy , is it possible to still inject in the stomach and did your Rheumy , OB say it is ok. Ive been looking for this info. I get very bad inchy and sore welts frm the shot too (I use the auto injector) and only lots of bendryl helps reduce it and it takes days. Im not sure how I'll manage with these SE if I got pregnant. My dr is away and havent seen them yet. I know i wont be able to take that much bendryl while pregnant so I dont know how I'll deal with the welts then...that's why my husband and I are giving us time before we try. I just started enbrel 1 month ago and would like to get it sorted out first. What have your experiences been so far in your pregnancy and is enbrel working for you, any SE?
Avatar universal
I want to let you know that you don't have to the the "sure click" or "auto injectors". I use the syringe type because I had a reaction everytime I used the "auto inject" shots. Check into using the syringe, it could make a big difference :) I am also going to be trying to get pregnant and was wondering were I would inject as well... Wondering if I wod still be able to inject in my belly???
Avatar universal
Hi! I wanted to check in with you to see what you decided to do as far as taking enbrel while pregnant or not? If you did take the medication, how did everything workout?
Avatar universal
I've never injected Enbrel in my stomach! I always do it in my thigh or butt... I did this Enbrel Pregnancy research when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I have had RA since I was 15 and I have 2 children (pregnant with my 3rd). I used Enbrel during my pregnancies, just less often. I take a 25mg shot every other week or every 3rd... Everything is fine with my two children...I wish there was more research on it...
Avatar universal
I know this maybe a little after the fact, but with rising healthcare costs, I just wanted to let those that don't know about Enbrel Support - you should check this out on the enbrel website. They help pay the copays each month! I only pay $10 instead of $70. Enbrel Support picks up the difference!

I'm currently 12 weeks pregnant, stopped enbrel when I found out. Unfortunately I have not gone into remission yet and have had the worst flare-up in 20 years with RA. I started searching for any info on taking enbrel while pregnant in case I continue to feel terrible when I came across this forum. Best of luck to everyone!
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