Attitudes of patients with a rheumatic disease on drug use in the COVID-19 pandemic


ADVANCES IN RHEUMATOLOGY, vol.61, no.1, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 61 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1186/s42358-021-00211-6
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: Anti-rheumatic drugs, Biological treatments, COVID-19, Discontinuation, Rheumatic patients, SOCIETY CLASSIFICATION CRITERIA, SPONDYLOARTHRITIS
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Background Anti-rheumatic drugs can increase the predisposition to infection, and patients may be unaware of continuing their treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Objective This study aimed to assess whether patients maintain their treatment for rheumatic conditions during the pandemic period and determine the factors responsible for discontinuation. Methods Patients were randomly selected from the prospectively collected database of our tertiary referral center. The patients were interviewed by telephone through a standardized closed-ended questionnaire, which is targeting the continuity of the treatment plan and the considerations related to the individual choice. The patients were asked whether they hesitated to visit the hospital for follow-up or intravenous drug administration. Results A total of 278 patients completed the questionnaire. While 62 of the patients (22.3%) had reduced or interrupted the treatment, only 11 patients (3.9%) stopped the treatment completely. A significant difference was observed between the duration of illness and the discontinuation of treatment. (p = 0.023) There was a significant difference in disease activity between the group that stopped treatment and continued treatment. (p = 0.001) There was no statistically significant difference in other demographic characteristics. One hundred thirty-five patients (48.6%) made the treatment decision by themselves, and 80% continued the treatment. Reasons for stopping the treatment were anxiety (48.4%), not being able to go to the hospital for intravenous treatment (45.1%), and not being able to find the drug (6.5%). Conclusion Since patients with long-term illnesses were found to be significantly more likely to stop their treatment, this group of patients should be monitored.