Background: People with rheumatic disease may be at higher risk for more severe
course with COVID- 19, and the adverse effects of drugs used to treat rheumatic diseases is a major
Objective: We conducted this survey to learn about the real impact of COVID-19 pandemic on patients
with rheumatic diseases.
Methods: Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire using a telephonic interview conducted
by two rheumatologists. Rheumatic disease characteristics, knowledge and attitude toward
COVID-19, and impacts of pandemic on rheumatology care and patient’s compliance were assessed.
Results: We included 307 patients in the survey, and rheumatoid arthris was the main rheumatic
disease. Patients had mostly moderate level of knowledge about COVID-19, and patients with higher
level of education were more likely to have better knowledge. Participants respected mainly recommended
preventive measures. The pandemic and sanitary containment impacted strongly the
rheumatology care. Over quarter of patients noted worsening of their rheumatic disease, two-thirds
reported postponed or canceled medical apointments and more than three quarters postponed their
laboratory tests. Patients with higher disease activity were more likely to have lack of follow-up.
Medication change was noted in more than third of cases. It was mostly stopped, and DMARDs
were mainly affected. Patients living in rural areas and who had canceled, or postponed their appointments
were more likely to change their treatment.
Conclusion: Our data are useful to better manage rheumatic patients. Physicians are encouraged to
renew contact with their patients to insure medication compliance.