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Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases ; 81:710, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2009150


Background: Rituximab (RTX) achieved high remission-induction and sustained maintenance rates for patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) [1], [2]. However, RTX is an expensive medication, which may potentially lead to serious side effects. Defning the best dose regimen for maintenance in AAV is still an unmet need. Objectives: The aim of the present study is to compare the effects of ultra-low dose RTX (500 mg or 1000 mg once per year) to standard low dose RTX (500 or 1000 mg twice per year) as remission-maintenance therapy in AAV patients. Methods: We included consecutive AAV patients (classifed as GPA and MPA [3]) referring to four different Rheumatology centers in Italy. We assessed all AAV patients who successfully achieved disease remission (BVASv3=0) with conventional RTX or cyclophosphamide regimens and have been subsequently treated with RTX for maintenance of remission. All included patients received at least three maintenance infusions with either 1000 mg or 500 mg, twice per year (standard low dose) or once per year (ultra-low dose). After a period of 18 months, we assessed the remission rate, damage (VDI), glucocorticoids intake, ANCA status, B-cells depletion and serum IgG levels. Results: From January 2011 to December 2021, 83 AAV patients (mean age 51±16, 49.4% female, 95.2% ANCA positive, 65.8% anti PR3, 34.2% anti MPO), 61 classifed as GPA and 22 MPA, achieved complete disease remission with conventional RTX induction regimen. After 7 [6-9] months, 29.9% patients started maintenance treatment with ultra-low dose RTX (once per year), while 70.1% patients with standard low dose (twice per year), for 18 months. No signifcant differences at baseline were noted between patients receiving ultra-low dose when compared to those treated with conventional low-dose. At the end of observation period, a disease fare was observed in 22.7% of the low-dose group, and 21.2% in those treated with the standard dose (p=0.881). Relapse-free survival was comparable between the two group (log-rank p=0.818, Figure 1). When comparing AAV patients treated with ultra-low dose regimen to those treated with low-dose, no differences were noted in negative ANCA rate (72.2% vs 67.1%, p=0.262), ANCA titer (0 [0-7.8] vs 0 [0-50] UI/mL, p=0.232), B-cells depletion rate (70.6% vs 75%, p=0.725), mean serum IgG (811 [146-922] vs 680 [429-861] mg/dL, p=0.367), mean daily glucocorticoid dosage (2.5 [0-5] vs 3.75 [0-5] mg/d, p=0.647), VDI (4 [1-5] vs 2 [1-4], p=0.098), hypogammaglobulinaemia rate (31.8% vs 36.5%, p=0.697) and deaths (4.5% vs 5.8%, p=0.831). Although not signifcant, patients treated with ultra-low dose had lower severe infection rate (10.5% vs 26.8%, p=0.154). Notably, in the all cohort 5 deaths were related to COVID19 pneumonia. Conclusion: Reduced exposure to RTX was not associated with an impaired efficacy of maintenance therapy in patients with AAV. Remission maintenance with ultra-low dose RTX is a safe and more cost-effective option.

Clinical & Experimental Rheumatology ; 05:05, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1989188


OBJECTIVES: Anti-COVID-19 vaccines have proved to be effective and well tolerated. Great attention is now being paid to the characterisation of possible adverse events associated to their administration. We report a case series of suspected rheumatic diseases (RDs) following anti-COVID-19 vaccination. METHODS: We included patients evaluated at first-aid rheumatologic consultancy and at rheumatologic outpatient and inpatient clinic at Padova University Hospital between May and September 2021 presenting with a RD within 30 days after an anti-COVID-19 vaccine dose. Our selection was in accordance with the World Health Organisation guidelines for adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) surveillance. Patients were regularly re-evaluated by telemedicine or face-to-face visit. RESULTS: We identified 30 cases of RD following vaccination: 24 (80.0%) new onsets and 6 (20.0%) flares. Most of patients (76.6%) received the BNT162b2 vaccine. The mean time to RD onset/flare was 12+/-9 days. The most common manifestations were inflammatory arthritis (40.0%), rheumatic polymyalgia (33.3%) and adult-onset Still's disease (13.3%). At the last FU visit (9.6+/-2.2 months), 83.3% of patients showed complete response to first- or second-line therapy, 13.3% a partial response and one patient (3.3%) was still experiencing an active disease. CONCLUSIONS: Considering the amount of vaccine doses administered during the evaluation period we overall detected a limited number of cases. We noted a clear prevalence of autoinflammatory conditions and seronegative manifestations. The great majority of patients had mild features and showed a good response to therapy.

J Autoimmun ; 112: 102502, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-595406


BACKGROUND: Whether patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD) have a higher risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) and how SARS-CoV-2 pandemic impacts on adherence to therapy has not been fully elucidated. We assessed the rate and clinical presentation of COVID-19, and adherence to therapy in a large cohort of patients with ARD followed-up in a tertiary University-Hospital in Northeast Italy. METHODS: Between April 9th and April 25th, 2020, after SARS-CoV-2 infection peak, a telephone survey investigating the impact of COVID-19 on patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis (SSc), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV), and idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) was administered. Demographics, disease activity status, therapy, occupational exposure, and adherence to social distancing advise were also collected. RESULTS: 916 patients (397 SLE, 182 AAV, 176 SSc, 111 RA, 50 IIM) completed the survey. 148 patients developed at least one symptom compatible with COVID-19 (cough 96, sore throat 64, fever 64, arthromyalgias 59, diarrhea 26, conjunctivitis 18, ageusia/hyposmia, 18). Among the 916 patients, 65 (7.1%) underwent SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab (18 symptomatic and 47 asymptomatic), 2 (0.21%) tested positive, a proportion similar to that observed in the general population of the Veneto region. No deaths occurred. 31 patients (3.4%) withdrew ≥1 medication, mainly immunosuppressants or biologics. Adoption of social distancing was observed by 860 patients (93.9%), including 335 (36.6%) who adopted it before official lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 incidence seems to be similar in our cohort compared to the general population. Adherence to therapy and to social distancing advise was high.

Autoimmune Diseases/drug therapy , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Immunosuppressive Agents/administration & dosage , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Rheumatic Diseases/drug therapy , Adult , Aged , Autoimmune Diseases/diagnosis , Autoimmune Diseases/virology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Rheumatic Diseases/diagnosis , Rheumatic Diseases/virology , SARS-CoV-2