Nearly one-third of rheumatology drug regimens shifted at time of COVID-19 vaccination
Healio Rheumatology reports on HSS study results published in The Lancet Rheumatology and features insight from lead study author Medha Barbhaiya, MD, MPH, rheumatologist at HSS.
Dr. Barbhaiya and colleagues found as many as 27.9% of immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive regimens were changed around the time of COVID-19 vaccination, with patients responsible for most modifications.
The study authors said, “Due to concerns about underlying immune dysregulation and immunosuppression, patients with systemic rheumatic diseases might modify their medications at the time of COVID-19 vaccination to optimize their immune response and mitigate vaccine side-effects.”
According to Dr. Barbhaiya, “We were surprised by the finding that many of the medication modifications around the COVID-19 vaccine were patient-directed, and not under the guidance of their rheumatologist. Some medication modifications, such as those related to modifying methotrexate dosing schedules prior to either vaccine dose, or any modifications related to TNF inhibitors or hydroxychloroquine, were not consistent with best practices as advised by the American College of Rheumatology task force.”
“Although the role of medication modifications at the time of COVID-19 vaccination and subsequent rheumatic disease flare-ups is still being studied, during the ongoing pandemic, rheumatologists may play a critical role in disseminating updated evidence-based guidance in real time to patients regarding future COVID-19 vaccine doses,” Dr. Barbhaiya added.