Women with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, and vasculitis receiving cyclophosphamide for severe disease manifestations risk primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) due to gonadotoxicity of this therapy. In addition to loss of reproductive potential, POI is associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Practitioners caring for women requiring gonadotoxic therapies should be familiar with long-term health implications of POI and strategies for ovarian preservation. Accumulating evidence supports the effectiveness of adjunctive gonadotropin releasing hormone analog (GnRH-a) for ovarian protection during gonadotoxic therapy in cancer and autoimmune populations. GnRH-a is less costly and invasive than assisted reproductive technologies used for achievement of future pregnancies, but is not Food and Drug Administration approved for ovarian preservation. This review focuses on POI comorbidities and strategies for mitigation of related sequelae, which can accumulate over decades of hypoesteogenism. These issues are arguably more pronounced for women with chronic autoimmune diseases, in whom superimposed POI further heightens risks of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Therefore, even if future pregnancy is not desired, ovarian protection during gonadotoxic therapy should be a major goal of disease management.
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