Recent Submissions

  • Cannabinoids in rheumatology: Friend, foe or a bystander?

    Jain, Nibha; Moorthy, Arumugam (2022-06)
    Objectives: Cannabinoids have gained popularity recently with special emphasis on their use for chronic pain. Although NICE guidelines advise against their usage for management of chronic pain, almost all rheumatologists encounter a few patients in their daily practice who either use them or are curious about them. We reviewed the mechanism of action of cannabinoids, current knowledge about their role in rheumatology and potential drug interactions with common drugs used in Rheumatology. We attempted to answer the question "If cannabinoids are friend, foe or just a mere bystander?" Methods: We adhered to a search strategy for writing narrative reviews as per available guidelines. We searched PubMed with the search terms "Cannabinoids", "Rheumatology" and "Chronic pain" for published articles and retrieved 613 articles. The abstracts and titles of these articles were screened to identify relevant studies focusing on mechanism of actions, adverse effects and drug interactions. We also availed the services of a musculoskeletal librarian. Results: Despite the NHS guidelines against the usage of cannabinoids and associated significant stigma, cannabinoids are increasingly used for the management of pain in rheumatology without prescription. Cannabinoids act through two major receptors CB1 and CB2, which are important modulators of the stress response with potential analgesic effects. Their role in various rheumatological diseases including Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia have been explored with some benefits. However, in addition to the adverse effects, cannabinoids also have some potential interactions with common drugs used in rheumatology, which many users are unaware of. Conclusion: While the current studies and patient reported outcomes suggest cannabinoids to be a "friend" of rheumatology, their adverse events and drug interactions prove to be a "Foe". We were unable to arrive at a definite answer for our question posed, however on the balance of probabilities we can conclude cannabinoids to be a "foe". Under these circumstances, a disease and drug focussed research is need of the hour to answer the unresolved question.
  • An update on the considerations for patients with rheumatic disease being treated with rituximab during the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential drug treatment strategies

    Moorthy, Arumugam
    Introduction: Over the last two decades, rituximab has become an increasingly popular drug in the treatment of a wide range of rheumatic diseases. However, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians face challenges in weighing risk against benefit in its use. Areas covered: A review of existing data was performed to examine the relationship between rituximab use, morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, and vaccine efficacy in patients with rheumatic diseases, aiming to guide clinicians in continued use of the medication and consider the direction of future research. A literature review was performed through a search of the PubMed database, using the terms ((SARS-CoV-2) OR (COVID-19)) AND (rituximab) AND (rheumatic), which generated an initial 55 results, with relevant articles then selected for inclusion. Expert opinion: In order to safeguard patients with an ongoing need for rituximab therapy, vaccination remains the primary concern. A target of performing booster doses 6 months after last rituximab dose is a reasonable estimate, which may be made more precise by use of B cell counts, although primary immunization should not be delayed. In those patients who remain seronegative, the use of newer antivirals and broadly neutralizing antibody infusions may help provide further safeguards.
  • Giant cell arteritis with normal inflammatory markers

    Habib, Mohammad Bilal; Riaz, Afifa (2022-07)
  • Survey on the impact of COVID19 in patients on immunosuppression for ocular and orbital inflammatory disorders

    Thomas, Mervyn; Kumar, Periyasamy; Islam, Tahir; Sivagnanasithiyar, Tharsica; Betteridge, Carol; Moorthy, Arumugam; Kapoor, Bharat
  • Lifestyle modification and inflammation in people with axial spondyloarthropathy-A scoping review

    Moorthy, Arumugam
    Introduction: People with axial spondyloarthritis (AS) have an inflammatory profile, increasing the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dyslipidaemia. Consequently, AS is linked with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). Physical inactivity, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity influence inflammation, but knowledge of the interaction between these with inflammation, disease activity, and CVD risk in AS is dominated by cross-sectional research. Methods: A review of the literature was conducted between July 2020 and December 2021. The focus of the scoping review is to summarise longitudinal and randomised control trials in humans to investigate how tracking or modifying lifestyle influences inflammation and disease burden in patients with AS. KEY MESSAGES: (1) Lifestyle modifications, especially increased physical activity (PA), exercise, and smoking cessation, are critical in managing AS. (2) Smoking is negatively associated with patient reported outcome measures with AS, plus pharmaceutical treatment adherence, but links with structural radiographic progression are inconclusive. (3) Paucity of data warrant structured studies measuring inflammatory cytokine responses to lifestyle modification in AS. Conclusion: Increased PA, exercise, and smoking cessation should be supported at every given opportunity to improve health outcomes in patients with AS. The link between smoking and radiographic progression needs further investigation. Studies investigating the longitudinal effect of body weight, alcohol, and psychosocial factors on disease activity and physical function in patients with AS are needed. Given the link between inflammation and AS, future studies should also incorporate markers of chronic inflammation beyond the standard C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate measurements.
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis-like lupus

    Roberts, Elizabeth; Melchionda, Veronica; Saldanha, Gerald; Shaffu, Shireen; Royle, Jeremy; Harman, Karen
    Toxic epidermal necrosis (TEN)-like lupus is a rare condition characterized by epidermal loss and mucosal ulceration occurring in patients with acute severe flares of systemic lupus erythematosus. The clinical picture may mimic drug-induced Stevens-Johnson syndrome/TEN; however, the absence of a suitable culprit drug, and the context of acute lupus point to the correct diagnosis. In a case series of three patients, further discriminating features included a slower onset of epidermal loss, more limited mucosal ulceration and a lack of ocular involvement when compared with drug-induced TEN. Histology may show similar features, including basal layer vacuolation, apoptosis and full-thickness epidermal necrosis. Patients with TEN-like lupus may have additional features of lupus, and a lupus band on direct immunofluorescence. It is important to identify this condition correctly, so that these patients can be appropriately managed with early input from Rheumatologists and prompt treatment with high-dose combined immunosuppressant therapy.