COVID-19 Ills No Greater for Those With Lupus, RA

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay reporter

FRIDAY, September 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) – People with lupus do not have an increased risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 because of the steroid drugs they take to reduce the activity of the immune system, according to a new study.

And a related study found that people with inflammatory forms of arthritis – such as rheumatoid arthritis – are no more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people without arthritis.

Both studies were conducted by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York.

The findings “should reassure most patients, especially those on immunosuppressive therapy, that they are not at greater risk of having to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than other patients with lupus or lupus. arthritis, ”Dr. Ruth Fernandez-Ruiz, co-author of the studies, said in a NYU Langone press release.

“People with lupus or inflammatory arthritis have the same risk factors for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 as people without these disorders,” said Fernandez-Ruiz, postdoctoral fellow in rheumatology.

Lupus and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and spondylitis are autoimmune diseases in which the immune system mistakenly attacks a person’s own tissues. This causes inflammation of the joints, skin, kidneys and other parts of the body.

Researchers found that SLE patients taking immunosuppressive drugs – such as mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept) and azathioprine (Imuran) – had no greater risk of hospitalization (15 of 24) than SLE patients did. not using medication (nine of 17). ).

Additionally, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate for people with inflammatory arthritis (26%) was similar to that of New York residents overall (25%).

Another finding was that patients taking biologic drugs for arthritis, such as adalimumab (Humira) and etanercept (Enbrel), or the antiviral hydroxychloroquine, had no risk of hospitalization with COVID- 19 more or less than those who did not take these drugs.

But patients who took steroids called glucocorticoids, even in small doses, had a 10 times higher risk of hospitalization with COVID-19 than those who did not take steroids. Although the finding is statistically significant, the small size of the study may overestimate the actual risk, the researchers noted.

The studies were recently published online in the journal Arthritis and rheumatology.

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SOURCE: NYU Langone, press release, August 25, 2020

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