Denise Johnston stood in line at the pharmacy to pick up her monthly prescription of methotrexate, which she takes to relieve pain from her psoriatic arthritis. A month earlier, Johnston, 49, picked up her new prescription with no problems. But this time, she was stopped at the counter of her CVS pharmacy outside San Antonio, Texas, and asked about her “birth control plan.”She was stunned and embarrassed. Not only was she at an age when women typically begin menopause, she had a total hysterectomy about 20 years ago, ending her ability to get pregnant. She explained that to the pharmacist in front of a line of waiting customers but was told her insurance wouldn’t cover the medication, which has the potential to cause miscarriages and birth defects.“It was just like a slap in the face,” Johnston said. “I was very angry. I just wanted my meds.”What to know, state by state: Legal battles over abortion ‘trigger laws’ continue across USExclusive: Concern about abortion explodes among Democrats, fueling a push to voteExperts say Johnston’s story is becoming more common in abortion-restrictive states after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that made abortion a constitutional right.“We’re hearing scattered reports about people having limited access to (methotrexate),” said Dr. Kenneth Saag, president of the American College of Rheumatology. “Doctors and pharmacies are uncertain about their legal situation in prescribing or dispensing the medicine.”Methotrexate is an immunosuppressive drug used to treat rheumatoid, psoriatic and juvenile idiopathic arthritis and vasculitis, said Dr. Mehret Birru Talabi, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a member of the Arthritis Foundation’s rheumatoid arthritis expert panel. It’s a “cornerstone therapy in rheumatology,” she said. The Arthritis Foundation calls it “one of the most effective and widely used medications for treating inflammatory types of arthritis.”But its contraindication in pregnancy is what’s making providers hesitant to prescribe or refill prescriptions for women of childbearing age in states with anti-abortion laws.“It is an abortifacient medication … and has the potential to cause birth defects,” Birru Talabi said. “It’s being lumped into medication that can facilitate abortion, and even though it’s an incredible therapeutic for patients, it can be used for abortion purposes, and that’s leading to some restriction over its use.”More than 1.3 million people in the U. S. have rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The Arthritis Foundation estimates about 90% of rheumatoid arthritis patients have taken methotrexate at some point in their lives. July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month: What people with juvenile arthritis wish you knewMethotrexate is also widely used outside rheumatology.
All data is taken from the source: http://usatoday.com
Article Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/08/03/roe-arthritis-drug-methotrexate-hard-access-due-abortion-bans/10046008002/
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