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13-05-2020 | Systemic lupus erythematosus | News

News in brief

Hydroxychloroquine use does not protect against severe COVID-19 in people with lupus

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: Data from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance provide further evidence against a protective effect of hydroxychloroquine on the development of severe COVID-19 in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Maximilian Konig (The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) and colleagues outline the experience of 80 patients with SLE and COVID-19 from the registry, of whom 90% were female and 86% were younger than 65 years. In all, 64% of patients were undergoing treatment with an antimalarial (chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine) prior to infection with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

As reported in a letter to the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, the proportion of patients requiring hospital admission was comparable among those who were treated with an antimalarial and those who were not, at 55% and 57%, respectively. And the authors say that escalation to the maximum level of care – involving supplemental oxygen, ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – “was required regardless” of hydroxychloroquine use.

“Thus, patients with lupus—even if they are using an antimalarial such as [hydroxychloroquine] as baseline therapy—can develop SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 at similar frequency as lupus patients not on antimalarials,” conclude Konig and team.

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

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Ann Rheum Dis 2020; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-21769