The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies module of the Rheumatic Diseases Portuguese Register
Aims: To characterise the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) module of the Rheumatic Diseases Portuguese Register (Reuma.pt/myositis) and the patients in its cohort. Methods: Reuma.pt is a web-based system with standardised patient files gathered in a registry. This was a multicentre open cohort study, including patients registered in Reuma.pt/myositis up to January 2022. Results: Reuma.pt/myositis was designed to record all relevant data in clinical practice and includes disease-specific diagnosis and classification criteria, clinical manifestations, immunological data, and disease activity scores. Two hundred eighty patients were included, 71.4% female, 89.4% Caucasian, with a median age at diagnosis and disease duration of 48.9 (33.6-59.3) and 5.3 (3.0-9.8) years. Patients were classified as having definite (N=57/118, 48.3%), likely (N=23/118, 19.5%), or possible (N=2/118, 1.7%) IIM by 2017 EULAR/ACR criteria. The most common disease subtypes were dermatomyositis (DM, N=122/280, 43.6%), polymyositis (N=59/280, 21.1%), and myositis in overlap syndromes (N=41/280, 14.6%). The most common symptoms were proximal muscle weakness (N=180/215, 83.7%) and arthralgia (N=127/249, 52.9%), and the most common clinical signs were Gottron’s sign (N=75/184, 40.8%) and heliotrope rash (N=101/252, 40.1%). Organ involvement included lung (N=78/230, 33.9%) and heart (N=11/229, 4.8%) involvements. Most patients expressed myositis-specific (MSA, N=158/242, 65.3%) or myositis-associated (MAA, 112/242, 46.3%) antibodies. The most frequent were anti-SSA/SSB (N=70/231, 30.3%), anti-Jo1 (N=56/236, 23.7%), and anti-Mi2 (N=31/212, 14.6%). Most patients had a myopathic pattern on electromyogram (N=101/138, 73.2%), muscle oedema in magnetic resonance (N=33/62, 53.2%), and high CK (N=154/200, 55.0%) and aldolase levels (N=74/135, 54.8%). Cancer was found in 11/127 patients (8.7%), most commonly breast cancer (N=3/11, 27.3%). Most patients with cancer-associated myositis had DM (N=8/11, 72.7%) and expressed MSA (N=6/11) and/or MAA (N=3/11). The most used drugs were glucocorticoids (N=201/280, 71.8%), methotrexate (N=117/280, 41.8%), hydroxychloroquine (N=87/280, 31.1%), azathioprine (N=85/280, 30.4%), and mycophenolate mofetil (N=56/280, 20.0%). At the last follow-up, there was a median MMT8 of 150 (142-150), modified DAS skin of 0 (0-1), global VAS of 10 (0-50) mm, and HAQ of 0.125 (0.000-1.125). Conclusions: Reuma.pt/myositis adequately captures the main features of inflammatory myopathies’ patients, depicting, in this first report, a heterogeneous population with frequent muscle, joint, skin, and lung involvements.
Cycling versus swapping strategies in psoriatic arthritis: results from the rheumatic diseases Portuguese register
Objective: To compare the 2-year retention rate between a second tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitor (TNFi) and secukinumab (SEK) or ustekinumab (UST), in Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) patients with previous inadequate response to their first TNFi. Methods: Prospective longitudinal cohort study with a follow-up period of 2 years using the Nationwide Portuguese Reuma.pt database. Patients with a clinical diagnosis of PsA who also fulfill the CASPAR classification criteria, with previous treatment failure to a first-line TNFi and having started a second biotechnological drug (TNFi, SEK or UST) were included. The Cycling group was defined as switching from a first TNFi to a second TNFi, and the Swapping group as switching from a first TNFi to SEK or UST. Sociodemographic data, disease characteristics, disease activity scores and physical function at baseline and after 6, 12 and 24 months were recorded. Cox-proportional hazards regression was used to compare retention rates between Cycling and Swapping groups. To obtain a predictor model of 2-year discontinuation, a multivariable Cox regression model was performed. Results: In total, 439 patients were included, 58% were female, with a mean age (standard deviation) of 49 (12) years. Globally, 75.6% initiated a second TNFi (Cycling group), and 24.4% started SEK/UST (Swapping group). The retention rates after 6, 12 and 24 months were 72%/66%/59% in the Cycling group; and 77%/66%/59% in the Swapping group. There were no significant differences in retention rates between both strategies (HR: 1.06, 95% CI 0.72-1.16). After 2 years of follow-up, 34.4% of patients discontinued their second biologic, mainly due to inefficacy (72.8%), with no differences found between groups. Baseline treatment with glucocorticoids was the only predictor of discontinuation after 2 years of follow-up (HR:1.668, 95% CI 1.154-2.409). Conclusions: After failure of a first TNF inhibitor, Cycling and Swapping strategies result in similar retention rates suggesting that both are acceptable in the management of patients with psoriatic arthritis.Read online
Impact of COVID-19 on disease (self) management and well-being in people with Rheumatic or Musculoskeletal diseases across four European countries: a mixed methods study
Background: Qualitative data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) in different European countries are lacking.
Objectives: To describe the impact of the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with inflammatory RMDs concerning (self)management of their disease, interaction with the health care team, emotional well-being and overall health.
Methods: A mixed-methods study of adults (>18 years) with RMDs on immunosuppression from Cyprus, England, Greece, and Portugal took part on online focus groups (FG) after the first wave (July-August, 2020). The data was transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed. Informed by the qualitative findings, a follow-up survey was developed for the same participants after the second wave, allowing to compare the perceived impact.
Results: Twenty-four patients (6 from each country; 21 women; 33-74 years range) participated. Three key themes were identified (with 3-7 subthemes each), focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the: (i) individual, (ii) health settings, and (iii) work and community. Overall, qualitative results were similar across countries. The follow-up survey during the second wave highlighted a worsening of psychosocial aspects, e.g. sleep problems, stress, and isolation.
Conclusions: People with RMDs felt vulnerable and anxious, specifically about how to cope with isolation and difficulties in communicating with healthcare providers. The second wave had a more significant impact on patients. Healthcare providers and policymakers need to consider measures to ameliorate the longer-term impact that many may still face.