Effect of menopause on the modified Rodnan skin score in systemic sclerosis
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INTRODUCTION: We aimed to evaluate the effect of menopause on skin thickening, as measured by the modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS), in women with systemic sclerosis (SSc). METHODS: We identified women with either limited or diffuse SSc, aged ≥ 18 years, enrolled within the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group (CSRG) cohort, between 2004 and 2011. As part of the CSRG cohort, subjects undergo annual assessments with standardized questionnaires and physical examinations. We performed multivariate regression analyses using generalized estimating equation (GEE) to determine the effect of menopause on the mRSS, adjusting for relevant covariates including notably age, follow-up time, and disease duration. RESULTS: We identified 1070 women with SSc, contributing a total of 3546 observations over the study period. Of these women, at baseline, 65% had limited disease and 35% diffuse disease. In multivariate analyses, we observed a substantial effect of postmenopausal status on the mean mRSS in women with diffuse disease subtype [-2.62 units, 95% confidence interval (CI) -4.44, -0.80] and significant interaction between menopausal status and disease subtype (2.04 units, 95% CI 0.20, 3.88). The effect of postmenopausal status on the mean mRSS was smaller in women with limited SSc (-0.58, 95% CI -1.50, 0.34). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that menopause has a substantial effect on skin thickening in diffuse SSc, with postmenopausal status being associated with a lower mean mRSS compared to premenopausal status.
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