News in brief: Vaccine priority list excludes some rheumatology patients; Alcohol doesn’t protect against OA; Gout co-morbidities common

Thursday, 25 Mar 2021


RA in but OA out for COVID-19 vaccine priority

Some rheumatology conditions are included in the specified underlying medical conditions for Phase 1b rollout of COVID-19 vaccine, but others are excluded.

In its latest noted for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout the Department of Health says the priority list includes people with chronic inflammatory conditions requiring medical treatments, including: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and similar who are being treated with Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or immune-suppressive or immunomodulatory therapies.  However it also specifies that the list does not include people with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome or similar non-immunocompromising inflammatory conditions.


Gout co-morbidities common

Clinicians should be vigilant for the development of new comorbidities such as obesity in people with gout, UK research suggests. A prospective study found that over a five year period the comorbidities with the highest incidence included coronary artery disease (39%), followed by hypertension (37%), chronic kidney disease stage ≥3 (18%), obesity (16%), hyperlipidaemia (12%) and diabetes (9%). The study, carried out by the Primary Care Centre Versus Arthritis team at Keele University also found that  obesity was associated with increasing risk of flares (OR 1.66).

The findings are published in Rheumatology.


Alcohol doesn’t protect against OA

Previous reports of a protective effect of alcohol consumption on risk of osteoarthritis are likely to be inaccurate, a meta-analysis shows.  The review which included 29 studies initially identified a statistically significant negative association between alcohol use and OA. 

However, when the researchers performed a subgroup analysis of studies adjusted for confounders the association was no longer observed. 

Alcohol use is a public health issue and with mounting global disease burden attributable to alcohol misuse it is increasingly important that recommendations for safe consumption are supported by robust research” the authors wrote in Rheumatology International.

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