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Medicine Matters rheumatology

May 12, 2022: Research from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance identified a number of potential predictors of flare risk following vaccination in a cohort of 5619 RMD patients. These included a diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriatic arthritis, or polymyalgia rheumatica, and receipt of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine. An additional study found that colchicine prophylaxis may help to reduce the increased risk for gout flares following receipt of an inactivated virus vaccine in men.

November 3, 2021: A study of 5493 patients with rheumatoid arthritis found no significant association between full vaccination with messenger (m)RNA or inactivated virus COVID-19 vaccines and disease flares. Ian Chi Kei Wong (The University of Hong Kong, China) and team conclude in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases that current evidence does not support an association between COVID-19 vaccination and arthritis flare risk.

Research published in The Lancet Rheumatology evaluated the safety and tolerability profile of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in people with antiphospholipid antibodies. The study found that all adverse events were were transient and self-limiting within 10 days, suggesting a favorable safety profile of the vaccines in this population.

August 11, 2021: A study of 1377 people with RMDs who received both doses of the Pfizer–BioNTech (BNT162b2) or Moderna (mRNA-1273) vaccine found that disease flares were uncommon after vaccination, with 11% of participants reporting flares requiring treatment. Julie Paik (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) and colleagues said in Arthritis & Rheumatology that “[t]here were no findings that warranted concern about the safety of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination in patients with RMD."

June 8, 2021Study findings from the COVAX Registry presented at the EULAR 2021 Virtual Congress suggested that RMD flares following COVID-19 vaccination are "rare." Among 1519 patients, 5% experienced a disease flare following vaccination, but presenting author Pedro Machado (University College London, UK) said that it was difficult to determine whether or not the flares were related to vaccination.

March 31, 2021: A small study by Bimba Hoyer (University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein Campus Kiel, Germany) and colleagues, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, reported no disease flares among 26 patients with chronic inflammatory diseases who had received both doses of either the Pfizer–BioNTech (BNT162b2) or Moderna (mRNA-1273) vaccine. Disease activity was measured before and 1 week after each vaccination, and there were no changes to DMARD or glucocorticoid therapy during the study period.