Background: The impact and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with rheumatic disease are unclear. We developed the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Patient Experience Survey to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with rheumatic disease worldwide. Methods: Survey questions were developed by key stakeholder groups and disseminated worldwide through social media, websites, and patient support organisations. Questions included demographics, rheumatic disease diagnosis, COVID-19 diagnosis, adoption of protective behaviours to mitigate COVID-19 exposure, medication access and changes, health-care access and communication with rheumatologists, and changes in employment or schooling. Adults age 18 years and older with inflammatory or autoimmune rheumatic diseases were eligible for inclusion. We included participants with and without a COVID-19 diagnosis. We excluded participants reporting only non-inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis. Findings: 12 117 responses to the survey were received between April 3 and May 8, 2020, and of these, 10 407 respondents had included appropriate age data. We included complete responses from 9300 adults with rheumatic disease (mean age 46·1 years; 8375 [90·1%] women, 893 [9·6%] men, and 32 [0·3%] participants who identified as non-binary). 6273 (67·5%) of respondents identified as White, 1565 (16·8%) as Latin American, 198 (2·1%) as Black, 190 (2·0%) as Asian, and 42 (0·5%) as Native American or Aboriginal or First Nation. The most common rheumatic disease diagnoses included rheumatoid arthritis (3636 [39·1%] of 9300), systemic lupus erythematosus (2882 [31·0%]), and Sjögren's syndrome (1290 [13·9%]). Most respondents (6921 [82·0%] of 8441) continued their antirheumatic medications as prescribed. Almost all (9266 [99·7%] of 9297) respondents adopted protective behaviours to limit SARS-CoV-2 exposure. A change in employment status occurred in 2524 (27·1%) of 9300) of respondents, with a 13·6% decrease in the number in full-time employment (from 4066 to 3514). Interpretation: People with rheumatic disease maintained therapy and followed public health advice to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. Substantial employment status changes occurred, with potential implications for health-care access, medication affordability, mental health, and rheumatic disease activity. Funding: American College of Rheumatology.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank all the clinicians, health-care providers, and patient organisations who helped to develop and disseminate this survey. A full list of all the contributors can be found in the appendix (pp 44?45). Preliminary results were presented at the American College of Rheumatology 2020 conference. The views expressed here are those of the authors and participating members of the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance and do not necessarily represent the views of the American College of Rheumatology, the European League Against Rheumatism, the UK National Health Service, the National Institute for Health Research, the UK Department of Health, or any other organisation.
JSH reports grants from Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance and Rheumatology Research Alliance; and personal fees from Novartis, Pfizer, and Biogen, outside of the submitted work. JWL reports grants from Pfizer, outside of the submitted work. JAS reports grants and personal fees from Bristol-Myers Squibb; and personal fees from Gilead, Inova Diagnostics, Optum, and Pfizer, outside of the submitted work. CH reports personal fees from AstraZeneca and Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, outside of the submitted work. MJL reports grants from American College of Rheumatology during the conduct of the study and consulting fees from AbbVie, Amgen, Actelion, Boehringer Ingelheim, BMS, Celgene, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sandoz, Sanofi, Sobi, and UCB, outside of the submitted work. SES is supported by the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium and Vasculitis Foundation outside of the submitted work. KLD reports grants from Novartis, Sobi, National Institutes of Health, and Horizon Bio, outside of the submitted work. EFM reports that the Liga Portuguesa Contra as Doenças Reumaticas received support for specific activities: grants from Abbvie, Novartis, Janssen-Cilag, Lilly Portugal, Sanofi, Grünenthal SA, MSD, Celgene, Medac, Pharmakern, GAfPA, AMGEN, A Menarini Portugal; grants and non-financial support from Pfizer; and non-financial support from Grünenthal GmbH and Tilray, outside of the submitted work. DPR is the volunteer Vice President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, which is primarily supported by independent grants from pharmaceutical companies. DPR reports consulting fees from NovoNordisk Canada and speaking fees and an honoraria from Eli Lilly Canada, outside of the submitted work. DPR also lives with rheumatoid arthritis. SB reports personal fees from Novartis, AbbVie, Pfizer, and Horizon Pharma, outside of the submitted work. RG reports personal fees from AbbVie New Zealand, Cornerstones, Janssen New Zealand; and personal fees and non-financial support from Pfizer New Zealand, (all <$10 000) outside of the submitted work. PMM reports personal fees from Abbvie, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novartis, Pfizer, and UCB; and grants and personal fees from Orphazyme, outside of the submitted work. PCR reports personal fees from Abbvie, Gilead, Lilly, and Roche; grants and personal fees from Novartis, UCB Pharma, Janssen, and Pfizer; and non-financial support from BMS, outside of the submitted work. PS reports honoraria from being a social media editor for @ACR_Journals, outside of the submitted work. ZSW reports grants from National Institutes of Health, BMS, and Sanofi; and personal fees from Viela Bio and MedPace, outside of the submitted work. JY reports personal fees from Pfizer and Eli Lilly, and grants and personal fees from Astra Zeneca, outside of the submitted work. ES is a Board Member of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, which is a patient-run, volunteer-based organisation whose activities are primarily supported by independent grants from pharmaceutical companies. All other authors declare no competing interests.
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