The vital role of arthritis drugs in COVID-19 treatment

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Arthritis drugs have hit the headlines as treatment for COVID-19. What does the evidence say so far? Two stages of COVID-19 have been recognised: the initial viral stage and the immune response phase, when we see hyperinflammation associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

The latter stage has led to arthritis drugs being tried in people affected by moderate or severe COVID-19. A review of the available evidence in The Lancet, Rheumatology, suggests that:

  • Dexamethasone reduces COVID-19 related mortality;
  • Interleukin-6 inhibitors lower the risk of cardiovascular or respiratory organ support;
  • Baricitinib reduces the time to recovery in hospitalised patients needing oxygen support;
  • There may be a role for glucocorticoids in people with less severe COVID-19 but more studies are needed.

The next 12 months will “undoubtedly bring further clarity about the clinical utility and optimal dose and timing of other anti-rheumatic drugs in the management of COVID-19” the researchers outline.

Click here to read the original findings.

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