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Changes of immunosuppressive medication because of COVID-19 by patients with chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases: anxiety was not a major driver


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

 

  1. Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
  2. Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
  3. Ruhr Universität Bochum, and Marien Hospital Herne, Germany.
  4. Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
  5. Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
  6. Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
  7. Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
  8. Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany. juergen.braun@elisabethgruppe.de

CER15319
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PMID: 35084321 [PubMed]

Received: 08/11/2021
Accepted : 18/11/2021
In Press: 05/01/2022

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:
To study treatment decisions of patients with chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases (CIRD) at the beginning of the SARS- CoV-2 pandemic in relation to disease characteristics with focus on anxiety.
METHODS:
A total of 970 CIRD patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), psoriasis arthritis (PsA) and connective tissue diseases (CTD), selected from our records who had presented to our hospital at least twice during last year, were contacted by telephone to be asked about medication changes, health status and therapy satisfaction. Standardised tools were used to assess disease activity, anxiety and depression, the latter by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score (HADS) with a score ≥8 denoting definite anxiety and/or depression. The cut-off for RADAI was set at ≥3.2 and for BASDAI ≥4. Compliance with prevention rules and vaccination status were assessed.
RESULTS:
Complete interviews of 557 patients (57.4%) made between April and July 2020 were available for analysis. The median age was 55 (47–63), disease duration 9.0 (4.5–17.0) years, 61.9% females. A recent change in medication was reported by 197 patients (35.4%), 51.2% of which admitted that this decision was mainly made due to the pandemic with more changes occurring with bDMARDs (21.8%) than cDMARDs (6.6%) and corticosteroids (5.4%). There was no major difference between patients who changed because of the pandemic or self-reported inactive disease versus patients who did not change therapy regarding disease activity, depression and anxiety (41%, 17.2%, 31.3% vs. 47.5%, 22.5%, 35.0% vs. 48.9%, 27.7%, 34.1%). More than 90% of patients reported that they rigorously followed Corona prevention rules. The majority of patients were vaccinated against influenza (55.3%) and pneumococci (61.3%), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS:
Anxiety, depression and disease activity did not play an important role in decisions favouring change of therapy, even though many patients changed medication due to the pandemic. Patients probably protected themselves by strictly adhering to hygiene recommendations. Vaccination rates against influenza and pneumococci were better than previously reported, but still too low.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.55563/clinexprheumatol/em3tt5

Rheumatology Article