Objective: To explore how patients with chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases (CIRDs) coped with their disease during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify possible predictive factors of SARS-CoV-2 infection in this population.
Methods: Patients followed in a single rheumatology department in France or registered on the Spondy+ platform, a secure e-health platform for spondyloarthritis patients, were invited to complete a questionnaire focused on their experiences around COVID19 symptoms, testing and medications access during the lockdown period. Descriptive statistics were used to report questionnaire's results. Factors associated with COVID-19 or with treatment discontinuation were assessed by logistic regression.
Results: We obtained 655 answers from the 2,081 contacted patients: 474 with spondyloarthritis, 129 with rheumatoid arthritis and 52 with psoriatic arthritis. The population was predominantly female (61.8%) with a mean age of 51.0±13.4 years. Incidence of COVID-19 was 6.9% (95%CI: 5.1-9.2%), including 12 confirmed and 33 highly suspicious cases. No death was observed and five patients needed to be hospitalized. Factors independently associated with an increased risk of infection were SARS-CoV-2 exposure, younger age and non-smoking. More than 30% of the patients suspended or decreased the dosage of one of their drugs during the lockdown period. This was followed in 63.4% of them by increased disease activity. Modifications were mostly motivated by fear of contagion (79.3%).
Conclusion: We did not observe any increase of incidence or severity of COVID-19 in patients suffering of the 3 most common CIRDs. This survey also adds evidence of the safety of anti-rheumatic drugs use regarding COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Psoriatic arthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Spondyloarthritis.
Copyright © 2020 Société française de rhumatologie. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.