Rheum Round-up: Colchicine in COVID-19, Self-Harm and Rheumatic Diseases, and more

Here are the top stories recently covered by DocWire News in the Rheumatology section. In this edition, read about the effect of colchicine on cardiac and inflammatory biomarkers as well as clinical outcomes, in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the risk of self-harm among patients with different rheumatic diseases, women’s experiences with their journey to chronic widespread pain, and Amgen’s legal victory over Novartis.

A randomized, clinical trial analyzed the effect of colchicine, compared to standard care, on cardiac and inflammatory biomarkers, as well as clinical outcomes, in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. While the anti-inflammatory drug did not largely affect the biomarkers, it appeared to improve clinical outcomes, according to the Greek Study in the Effects of Colchicine in COVID-19 Complications Prevention (GRECCO-19) randomized clinical trial. The authors of this study noted that the difference was “based on a narrow margin of clinical significance” and recommended that the findings of the study be used to guide hypotheses for future research.

A recent study explored the risk of self-harm among patients with different rheumatic diseases. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), and fibromyalgia may be at greater risk. The researchers summarized, “Primary care patients with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (but not ankylosing spondylitis) are at increased risk of self‐harm compared to people without these rheumatological conditions. Clinicians need to be aware of the potential for self‐harm in patients with rheumatological conditions (particularly fibromyalgia), explore mood and risk with them, and offer appropriate support and management.”

About 10% of the population lives with chronic widespread pain (CWP). The musculoskeletal disease is more common among women than men. Since female sex is associated with persistence in CWP, researchers recently evaluated women’s experiences with their journey to CWP.

Pharmaceutical giant Amgen won a ruling in a federal appeals court against Novartis AG’s Sandoz, preventing the latter from selling a biosimilar of Amgen’s RAdrug Enbel (etanercept). The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled 2-1 in Amgen’s favor, blocking Sandoz from selling a biosimilar for almost 10 years. Sandoz sought to invalidate Amgen’s two patents and market its biosimilar Erelzi, which received Food and Drug Administration approval in 2016. However, the patents cover etanercept and the methods for making it, with one patent expiring in November 2028 and the other in April 2029.