Managing patients with rheumatic diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic: The French Society of Rheumatology answers to most frequently asked questions up to May 2020.
Joint Bone Spine. 2020 May 27;:
Authors: Richez C, Flipo RM, Berenbaum F, Cantagrel A, Claudepierre P, Debiais F, Dieudé P, Goupille P, Roux C, Schaeverbeke T, Wendling D, Pham T, Thomas T
BACKGROUND: Rheumatologists must contend with COVID-19 pandemic in the management of their patients and many questions have been raised on the use of both anti-inflammatory drugs and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD). The French Society of Rheumatology (SFR) selected the most critical ones to the daily practice of a rheumatologist and a group of 10 experts from SFR and Club Rheumatism and Inflammation (CRI) boards proposed responses based on the current knowledge of May 2020.
BASIC PROCEDURE: Following the availability of the first 18 questions and statements, 1400 individuals consulted the frequently asked questions between the March 31, 2020 and April 12, 2020. As a result, 16 additional questions were forwarded to the SFR, and answered by the board. An additional round of review by email and video conference was organized, which included updates of the previous statements. The scientific relevance of 5 of the questions led to their inclusion in this document. Each response received a final assessment on a scale of 0-10 with 0 meaning no agreement whatsoever and 10 being in complete agreement. The mean values of these votes for each question are presented as the levels of agreement (LoA) at the end of each response. This document was last updated on April 17, 2020.
MAIN FINDINGS: Based on current scientific literature already published, in most circumstances, there is no contraindication to the initiation or continuation of anti-inflammatory drugs as well as DMARDs. If signs suggestive of infection (coronavirus or other) occurs, treatments should be discontinued and resumed, if necessary, after 2 weeks without any symptoms. Only, some signals suggest that people taking an immunosuppressive dose of corticosteroid therapy are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19. Intra-articular injections of glucocorticoids are allowed when there is no reasonable therapeutic alternative, and providing that precautions to protect the patient and the practitioner from viral contamination are adopted, included appropriate information to the patient.
PRINCIPAL CONCLUSIONS: Currently available data on managing patients with rheumatic diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic are reassuring and support continuing or initiating symptomatic as well as specific treatments of these diseases, the main target of their management remaining their appropriate control, even during this pandemic.
PMID: 32473418 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]