News in brief: Most important MSK trials impacted by pandemic: experts; Impact of arthritis ‘pervasive’ for patients; Upadacitinib gets PBAC tick for AS and severe PsA

Most important MSK trials impacted by pandemic: experts

Important musculoskeletal clinical trials designed to answer the most pressing clinical questions in the field have been or will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers warn.

In a survey completed by 109 ANZMUSC members almost half said their professional life and/or musculoskeletal research work had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While 82% said that trial recruitment had been impacted, 62% noted that staff (62%) and data collection (67%) had been adversely affected.

Thirty-one percent indicated that funding had been impacted, while 57% reported that modifications to trial protocols had to be made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall,  40 trials were identified as likely to be affected by the pandemic either because of problems with recruitment or insufficient funds.

“A coordinated response from researchers, universities and funding bodies is urgently needed,” urged Professor Giobanni E Ferreira from the Sydney School of Public Health and colleagues in a letter published in the Internal Medicine Journal.

“We must ensure that the money already spent on these trials is sufficiently supplemented and remediation provided to ensure that these trials can be completed as planned”.

Impact of arthritis ‘pervasive’ for patients

Australian rheumatologists have identified six key areas in which arthritis impacts the life of patients, regardless of disease aetiology.

The review of the literature found that daily living, social participation, financial security, occupation, exercise/leisure and transportation were common issues for people with inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis.

According to the authors from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, their findings show that patient need appears to primarily be linked to symptoms common across musculoskeletal conditions, rather than aetiology or disease pathogenesis.

“Whilst people with arthritis are acutely aware of their inability to perform tasks and perceived “failures”, little work has been performed to identify the patients’ perspective of non-healthcare needs to facilitate targeted service provision and provide holistic care,” they wrote in their paper published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Improved identification and targeting of non-healthcare needs of people with arthritis is likely to improve person-centred care, they concluded.

Upadacitinib gets PBAC tick for AS and severe PsA

The PBAC has recommended upadacitinib for the treatment of AS and severe PsA.

It says the listings were partially based on its assessment that “the cost-effectiveness of upadacitinib would be acceptable if it were cost minimised to the lowest cost biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (bDMARD) for this indication”.

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