News in brief: COVID-19 vaccination data in rheumatology patients ‘reassuring’; Most PsA patients in Australia satisfied; Vitamin D turn around improves bone health

Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021

COVID-19 vaccination data in rheumatology patients ‘reassuring’

Patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases vaccinated against COVID-19 typically report mild transient reactions, safety data shows.

From a sample of 325 people with RMDs who received either the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (51%) or Moderna (49%), 89% reported local symptoms including pain, swelling and erythema.

Systemic symptoms were reported by 69%, with fatigue the most common. There were no allergic reactions requiring epinephrine.

“These early, reassuring results may ameliorate concern among patients and provide guidance for rheumatology providers in critical discussions regarding vaccine hesitancy or refusal,” the researchers wrote.

The paper was published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Most PsA patients in Australia satisfied with disease management, care

While most PsA patients are satisfied with their disease management and overall care, there is still room for improvement, research shows.

The survey completed by 152 patients found three-quarters were “very or somewhat satisfied” with their current PsA medication regimen.

Just over half reported always taking their medication exactly as directed by their healthcare provider but 90 percent said they still experienced musculoskeletal symptoms.

Most (93%) expressed a desire to change aspects of their current PsA medication regimen, such as taking fewer medications.

Most patients said they were satisfied with the communication with their HCP, but most wished that they could talk more regarding their disease and treatment goals.

A ‘striking’ finding according to the authors which included rheumatologist Irwin Lim from BJC Health was that approximately half of the survey respondents felt that asking their HCP too many questions would impact the quality of care that they would receive.

“Our data highlight a need for improved medication management and increased HCP communication among patients with PsA in Australia” they concluded in their paper published in Rheumatology Therapy.

The paper was funded by Pfizer Inc.

Vitamin D turn around improves bone health

Altered sun exposure behaviours and vitamin D supplement use have been positively associated with increases in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration over ten years, according to evidence from the Tasmanian Older Adult Cohort study.

The study compared 25(OH)D levels in more than 1,000 Australians 50-80 years old at baseline in 2002-2004. Data from 565 participants was available at the 10-year follow-up.

It found deseasonalised 25(OH)D increased over the study period as did the percentage of participants attaining levels ≥50 nmol/L and therefore considered vitamin D sufficient.

“Compared to participants who were always vitamin D deficient, persistent vitamin D sufficiency was associated with significantly less BMD loss at the femoral neck, total hip and lumbar spine and achieving vitamin D sufficiency was associated with significantly less BMD loss at the lumbar spine,” the study said.

The study noted that vitamin D supplement use by participants increased 16-fold, mirroring that in the community.

“Our data therefore most likely capture the influence of universal 25(OH)D measurement superimposed on existing trends in clinical practice and public health messages, resulting in an accentuated improvement in cohort vitamin D status.”

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism



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