April 2021 Arthritis News Roundup

The Arthritis Foundation is your trusted source for arthritis-related news and COVID updates that affect people with arthritis. Here’s a wrap-up of the headlines from this past month.

COVID-19 Impact Studied in Patients With Lupus
Severe COVID-19 infection was more likely in hospitalized patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who had comorbidities and risk factors associated with severe infection in the general population, according to a recent study. Read more.

Learn more about how lupus affects the body and what can be done to treat it.

Vaccine Strategies for Patients on Antirheumatic Drugs
U.K. experts propose evidence-based management strategies for rheumatology patients on immunosuppressive therapy, including delaying/postponing rituximab as appropriate. Learn more.

Learn about the American College of Rheumatology’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical guidance.

Autoimmune Disease Treatments May Reduce Vaccine Responses
Immunosuppressive drugs for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can impair the body’s response to the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, according to new data. Find out more.

Pfizer Asks FDA to Extend Use of COVID Vaccine to Ages 12–15
Pfizer and BioNTech have asked the FDA to expand authorization of their COVID vaccine to include children as young as 12 years of age. The request follows the March 31 announcement of a successful phase 3 de-escalation study involving 2,260 children and adolescents 12 to 15, showing the vaccine to be 100% effective in preventing illness in this age group. Read more.

Find out how effective COVID-19 vaccines are in people with arthritis.

COVID-19 Medications, Alternative Pain Meds Carry Toxicities
Newer agents used in the treatment of COVID-19 and as alternatives to opioids have been helpful but bring some unique toxicities clinicians should be aware of, pharmacists said during the 2021Critical Care Congress. Learn more.

Are Coronavirus Cases on the Rise in Your State?
This map shows the risk of infection in each state based on new daily cases per capita. Find out where your state ranks.

America May Be Close to Hitting a Vaccine Wall
There are growing signs that parts of the country may be close to meeting demand for the coronavirus vaccine — well before the U.S. has reached herd immunity. For the last few months, the primary focus in the U.S. has been getting shots to everyone who wants them, as quickly as possible. Soon, that focus will abruptly shift to convincing holdouts to get vaccinated. Read more.

UK Variant Now Dominant COVID-19 Strain in U.S.
The highly transmissible and deadly U.K. coronavirus strain, B.1.1.7, is now the most common form of COVID-19 in the United States, according to Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more.

FDA Approves First COVID-19 At-home, Fingerprick Blood Test
The COVID-19 Self-Collected Antibody Test System, developed by Symbiotica Inc., is the first home-collected antibody test to receive the FDA’s emergency use authorization, though 75 other antibody tests have been approved for use on samples collected in point-of-care settings. Read more.

Bedside Test Can Help Rule Out Septic Arthritis in Native Joints
An easy bedside test of synovial fluid aspirate can help rule out septic arthritis in adults presenting to the emergency department with a hot, inflamed native joint, report researchers in the U.K. Read the study.

Could Gene Editing Fix Chronic Pain?
Gene editing has shown great promise as a non-heritable way to treat a wide range of conditions, including many genetic diseases and, more recently, even COVID-19. But could a version of the CRISPR gene-editing tool also help deliver long-lasting pain relief without the risk of addiction associated with prescription opioid drugs? Find out.

Take control of pain. Get our top 4 tips for managing chronic pain or listen to one of our Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast episodes about pain management.

New Biosealant Can Stabilize Cartilage, Promote Healing After Injury
A new biosealant therapy may help stabilize injuries that cause cartilage to break down, paving the way for a future fix or — even better — begin working right away with new cells to enhance healing, according to a new animal-based study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Read more.

Self-Administered Educational Tools in Management of Knee OA Improves Patient Knowledge
Study participants who received combined video and booklet education were more effective in changing self-care behaviors. The education tools additionally provided greater advantages for Spanish-speaking and less-educated patients. Find out more.

Beta-blockers May Reduce Risk for Knee OA, Hip/Knee Pain
Study authors hypothesized that if beta-blockers can reduce pain due to OA, they will reduce primary care consultation rates for knee or hip pain, and knee or hip OA. Read more.

Recent Opioid Prescription Trends and Patterns Troubling
New research has revealed that long-term opioid use prior to knee replacement surgery is associated with an increased rate of complications postoperatively. The purpose of this study was to identify trends and factors associated with opioid prescriptions across medical specialties. Scientists were looking for underlying reasons for continued opioid prescription patterns despite concerns about their use for arthritis pain. Learn more.

Are your medications working properly? Ask our expert to find out what to do when your prescriptions don’t provide the pain relief you need.

 

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