Contraception in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid syndrome
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
Contraceptive choice in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is challenging but important. Long-acting forms of contraception such as the progesterone intrauterine device (IUD) or subdermal implant are preferable for most patients. Estrogen-containing hormonal contraceptives may be used in stable, inactive SLE patients but are contraindicated in patients with positive antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). The levonorgestrel IUD is a good alternative for many APS patients and often decreases menstrual blood loss. It is prudent to avoid depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) in corticosteroid-treated or other patients at risk for osteoporosis because of the inhibition of ovulation. Effective and safe contraception in patients with SLE and APS permits planning for pregnancy during inactive disease and while on pregnancy-compatible medications, preventing a poorly timed pregnancy that may jeopardize maternal and/or fetal health.