Covid-19 impacts on people with rheumatic disease: survey

3 minute read

Plus: Upcoming ACR Town Hall on covid vaccines and rheumatic disease patients / Latest update on tocilizumab shortage.

Also: Upcoming ACR Town Hall on covid vaccines and rheumatic disease patients; latest update on tocilizumab shortage.

COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Patient Experience Survey findings

The COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance conducted an international online survey to assess the effects of the covid pandemic on people with rheumatic disease – in particular patient-reported outcomes and health-related behaviours.

The survey was conducted in the early stages of the pandemic in April and May 2020 and included complete responses from 9300 adults worldwide. The findings were published last week in The Lancet Rheumatology.

With little known about the risks of covid infection for people with rheumatic diseases at the beginning of the pandemic, there were significant challenges in determining behavioural changes needed to reduce the risk of infection. This was compounded by disruptions to healthcare, including clinic visits and access to medication.

“Understanding the early behaviours of people with inflammatory and autoimmune conditions is necessary to assess the effects of the pandemic on this population, and not only those who became infected with SARS-CoV-2,” said the authors.

Available in nine languages, the survey included people from over 90 countries, and over 90% of respondents were women.

The survey found that nearly all respondents (99.7%) reported using at least one behavioural protective measure, such as staying home as much as possible, physical distancing, and using masks and gloves.

Most respondents continued their medication; among the 18% of respondents who didn’t, the reasons included lack of efficacy, concerns about immunosuppression and difficulty obtaining supplies.

Meanwhile, nearly a third of respondents experienced job losses and other changes in employment status. There were concerns this could impact on healthcare access and affordability, mental health and disease activity, and the study authors called for further work to address these consequences.

Lancet Rheumatol 2021, 22 July (online)

ACR Town Hall – COVID-19 Vaccination, Immunosuppression and Rheumatic Disease

The American College of Rheumatology is running a town hall on the COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness in immunosuppressed and rheumatic disease patients. In an area with many unanswered questions, you can find out has been learnt from real-world data collection efforts and ask questions of the expert panel.

It takes place at 7pm AET on 4 August, which is Thursday 5 August at 9am AEST. Go to the ACR Announcements page to register, whereafter you can lodge your questions.

Tocilizumab shortage – what you need to know

The TGA has updated current and anticipated availability status for tocilizumab (Actemra, Roche):

  • 200 mg/10 mL IV injection – Current shortage and limited availability to 31 August 2021.
  • 400 mg/20 mL IV injection – Currently available, anticipated shortage 1 August 2021 to 31 January 2022.
  • 162 mg/0.9 mL pre-filled autoinjector pen – Currently available, anticipated shortage 1 September to 15 October 2021.
  • 162 mg/0.9 mL pre-filled syringe – Currently available, anticipated shortage 15 August to 15 October 2021.

In a communication to health professionals, Roche has stated it is “working urgently to increase manufacturing capacity and supply” and is committed to ensuring supplies are available for patients with no reasonable alternative:

“Whilst ACTEMRA IV formulations are in short supply, we are prioritising stock to manage the needs of patients currently receiving treatment. Supply constraints will be in effect to mitigate against stockpiling and to support availability of product. Roche recognises that there are patients who need ACTEMRA and for which there is no other alternative and we are committed to prioritising supply for these patients.”

TGA: Shortages of tocilizumab (Actemra) medicines

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×