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21-10-2020 | COVID-19 | News

News in brief

COVID-19 lockdown had ‘immediate negative consequences’ for rheumatology patients

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: Over half of a UK cohort of rheumatology patients experienced worsening in musculoskeletal symptoms during the COVID-19 lockdown period, say researchers.

Alex Macgregor (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) and colleagues report that among 678 patients with musculoskeletal diseases who responded to an online survey in April 2020, 52.1% said that their symptoms had worsened since lockdown measures were introduced 5 weeks previously.

These findings suggest “that there have been immediate negative consequences for people with musculoskeletal disease,” say the researchers. However, they note that the majority (88.2%) of participants reported little difficulty in accessing medication.

The most common rheumatic disease in the study population was rheumatoid arthritis (43.5%), followed by osteoarthritis (21.7%), while fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and inflammatory polyarthritis each affected approximately 9% of respondents.

Overall, a third of respondents said they needed to access their primary care provider or hospital rheumatology department during the lockdown period. Those who reported greater social isolation or loneliness were less likely to access healthcare than those who did not.

Therefore, “[s]hould further isolation measures need to be enforced as the pandemic continues, particular efforts should be made to protect and support the socially isolated as a vulnerable group,” write Macgregor and team in a letter to Rheumatology Advances in Practice.

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2020 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

21 October 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Rheumatol Adv Pract 2020; doi:10.1093/rap/rkaa047