How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected our rheumatology patients using biological/targeted DMARDs?

Gulle S., Erez Y., Karakas A., Yuce Inel T., Kocaer S. B., Demirci Yildirim T., ...More

JOURNAL OF INFECTION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, vol.17, no.7, pp.944-952, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3855/jidc.17470
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.944-952
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Introduction: We aimed to investigate the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the course and treatment of patients with inflammatory rheumatic musculoskeletal disease (iRMD) using biologic or targeted synthetic disease modifying and rheumatic drugs (b/tsDMARDs).Methodology: The study was carried out in two stages: in the first stage we investigated the delay of b/tsDMARD treatment in the first 3 months of the pandemic; in the second stage, we investigated all patients who decided to continue treatment after interruption in the 12-month period.Results: A total of 521 patients were included in the study. The iRMD diagnosis was listed as spondyloarthritis (SpA) (54.3%), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (25.7%), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) (8.4%), vasculitis (6.1%), and others (5.4%). Concurrent use of hydroxychloroquine (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.49), iv bDMARD use (HR = 1.34), and a history of discontinuation of drug in the first 3 months of the pandemic (HR = 1.19) were determined as factors that reduced 12-month drug retention rates. The use of glucocorticoid (HR = 3.81) and having a diagnosis of interstitial lung disease/chronic obstructive lung disease (HR = 4.96) were found to increase the risk of being infected by SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).Conclusions: It was shown that approximately 1/5 of iRMD patients using b/tsDMARDs delayed their treatment due to the fear of COVID-19 in the first three months of the pandemic process. However, with good communication with the patients, b/tsDMARD treatment was restarted and the 12-month drug retention status was quite high.