Purpose of review
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) face unique challenges during the pandemic, including concerns regarding infection risk, drug shortages, limited access to care, social isolation, and mental health. This review will examine the multifaceted impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients living with RA.
In patients with RA, risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes include older age and comorbidities, similar to those in the general population. Glucocorticoids, but not other classes of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), appear to be associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. RA patients have been affected by changes in access to care, telemedicine, drug shortages, anxiety, and social isolation, which may contribute to disease flares.
Glucocorticoids, but not other DMARDs, are associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes in RA patients. Further studies are needed to explore the impact of specific DMARDs on COVID-19 outcomes, understand the broader implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on RA disease activity, and optimize the use of telemedicine in RA management.