Top 5 Most-Read Rheumatology Content of 2021

Readers were most interested in articles about cost of therapy, drug efficacy, and a unique case related to COVID-19.

In 2021, the most popular news in the rheumatology space included an article on an insurance company enticing patients to switch therapies, a study on the effect of an anti-inflammatory diet, and a unique case of a patient who developed psoriatic arthritis (PsA) triggered by COVID-19.

Here are the top 5 rheumatology articles of 2021.

5. Behçet Disease Linked With Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, Study Says

A study out of Korea found that patents with Behçet disease (BD) are more likely than people without BD to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In addition, patients younger than 40 years had a higher proportion of RA than older patients.

This was the first study to report on the association of BD with MS and RA, although past research has suggested inflammatory bowel disease is a comorbidity.

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4. Studies Ask if Gender Has an Effect on Secukinumab Efficacy in AS and PsA

Abstracts presented at the American College of Rheumatology Convergence 2021 meeting provided data from the ongoing AQUILA study on whether gender influences the effectiveness of secukinumab in patients with ankylosing spondylitis or PsA.

The researchers collected data on disease activity, global functioning and health, and depressive mood severity.

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3. Cigna Dangles $500 to Persuade Patients to Switch Psoriasis Drugs

In the first quarter of 2021, a dermatologist shared a letter with The American Journal of Managed Care® with communication from Cigna Pharmacy advising clinicians of patients who are still using secukinumab and alternatives they may switch to. Patients who chose to switch were being offered a $500 debit card if they filled the first prescription before August 31 and the second before December 31.

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2. Anti-inflammatory Diet May Affect Physical Functioning in RA

A diet based on anti-inflammatory foods does not have a significant impact on health-related quality of life among patients with RA, but the diet may make a difference in physical functioning.

In the Anti-inflammatory Diet in Rheumatoid Arthritis (ADIRA) trial, patients completed an assigned diet—an anti-inflammatory diet or their typical diet—and after 10 weeks, the groups switched diets for another 10 weeks.

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1. Researchers Report First-Known Case of COVID-19–Triggered Psoriatic Arthritis

In January, doctors in Italy reported on what was the first known case of PsA triggered by COVID-19. The patient first developed acute arthritis in her left ankle followed by loss of taste and smell 7 days later. She was never tested for COVID-19, but when she was admitted to the hospital in July for diarrhea, low back pain, and arthritis in the left knee and the metatarsophalangeal joints, she tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

The doctors did not diagnose her with reactive arthritis because the onset of arthritis occurred before clinical manifestation of viral infection. As a result, they diagnosed her with psoriatic spondyloarthritis triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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