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July 1969

Effect of Oral Contraceptives on Experimental Demyelinating Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr. Arnason) and John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Baltimore (Dr. Richman). Dr. Richman is now with Jacobi Hospital, Albert Einstein School of Medicine, New York.

Arch Neurol. 1969;21(1):103-108. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480130117012

AS THE USE of oral contraceptives has spread, certain hazards associated with their use have come to light.1,2 In the case of the human demyelinating disease, multiple sclerosis, no data have come forth as to whether oral contraceptives influence its course favorably, unfavorably, or at all. The point is of some moment to women with the disease, many of whom are terrified by the prospect of pregnancy and of the consequences which may be in store for them because of pregnancy.

Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), an acute demyelinating disease of auto-allergic etiology, is produced readily in experimental animals, and mimics multiple sclerosis in many of its clinical and pathologic features. Whether or not it provides a reasonable model for multiple sclerosis is a matter of dispute, but on the basis that it may do so, a study of EAE in rats fed various oral contraceptive preparations, as well