Rheum Round-up: Interivew with a Rheumatologist, Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 Prevention, and more

Here are the top stories recently covered by DocWire News in the Rheumatology section. In this edition, read an interview with a rheumatologist, what you need to know about hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 prevention, opportunistic infections in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and obesity in preschool correlates with childhood fracture.

DocWire News recently highlighted the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance, which is calling on clinicians to provide data on their patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. We conducted an interview with Suleman Bhana, MD, Chair, Communications and Marketing Committee of the American College of Rheumatology, as well as Organizational Liaison for the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Registry. In the interview, Dr. Bhana shares some insight into the Alliance including how it was started, what its goals are, and looking ahead.

Rumors that lupus patients are protected from COVID-19 because many of them take hydroxychloroquine are just that—rumors, according to new information from CreakyJoints. The use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment against COVID-19 has been touted by President Donald Trump, but these statements are not conclusively supported by the scientific literature. Data are continuously being collected, but as of now, according to CreakyJoints, lupus patients—including those taking hydroxychloroquine—have in fact tested positive for COVID-19.

A study analyzed the prevalence of opportunistic infections in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). The study was an analysis of patients in the Pharmachild registry performed by an independent Safety Adjudication Committee (SAC). Pharmachild, or the “Pharmacovigilance in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis patients,” was started in 2011 by the Paediatric Rheumatology INternational Trials Organization to handle long-term safety and efficacy evaluations. Final analysis included 572 eligible JIA patients, in whom 772 infectious events took place; 335 were serious/severe/very severe non-OI and 437 were OI of any intensity/severity per the provisional list. The majority of the infections (n=682, 88.3%) were adjudicated as infections; of these, 603 (88.4%) were common and 119 (17.4%) were OI, per the SAC. The 119 opportunistic events were matched with the provisional list, and 106 were confirmed by the SAC as OI. Of these infections, the most common were herpes viruses (68.0%) and tuberculosis (27.4%).

Children who are obese in preschool are more likely to suffer fractures during childhood, according to a report. Between 2006 and 2013, 466,997 children (48.6% were female) had a validated weight and height measurement (taken at a routine healthcare screening) at age four; children were followed through age 15, migration out of region, death, or Dec. 31, 2016. Body mass index (BMI) at age four was calculated and classified per World Health Organization growth tables; electronic primary care records were used to identify fracture. Children were followed for a median 4.90 years (interquartile range, 2.50 to 7.61). Cumulative childhood fracture risk for underweight children was 9.20% (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.79% to 14.61%); overweight children, 11.28% (95% CI, 10.22% to 12.35%); and obese children, 13.05% (95% CI, 10.69% to 15.41%). Children who were overweight, compared to children in a normal weight range, had an increased risk of lower limb fracture (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]=1.42; 95% CI, 1.26 to 1.59) and upper limb fracture [aHR=1.10; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.17), as did children whose BMI was in the obese range (aHR=1.74; 95% CI, 1.46 to 2.06; and aHR=1.19; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.31, respectively).