Rheumatoid Arthritis Highlights From EULAR 2021

Ronald F. van Vollenhoven, MD, PhD


June 22, 2021

Dr Ronald F. van Vollenhoven, professor of the Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at Amsterdam University Medical Centers, offers insight on key findings on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) presented at the EULAR 2021 meeting.

First, Dr Van Vollenhoven reviews a study that looked at how COVID-19 affects patients being treated with different rheumatic medications. People with RA who were treated with rituximab or Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors had more severe COVID-19 than those on tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.

Next, he reports on a paper that shows how a gene expression panel may be able to predict who will ­— and will not — respond to the anti-IL-6 therapy tocilizumab.

He then discusses two studies that look at ways to predict a patient’s risk of developing RA. The first found that exposure to cigarette smoke in childhood increases the risk of developing RA later in life. The second found tenosynovitis to be a strong predictor of RA.

Next, he reviews a study that assessed the risk for infection in elderly RA patients receiving biologics or JAK inhibitors. Researchers found that age is not a risk factor for infection, but comorbidities and other medications a patient takes, especially corticosteroids, are.

Dr Van Vollenhoven closes his commentary by discussing a study he was involved in, which looked at the safety and efficacy of upadacitinib, a JAK inhibitor for patients with moderate to severe RA.


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