May is lupus awareness month, and this year it has became especially important to promote lupus awareness. The coronavirus pandemic has directly impacted lupus patients and their access to treatment. Dramatic global shortages in the well established, disease-altering treatment for lupus, Chloroquine, stemming from its proposed role as a COVID-19 treatment, has left many patients without, leading to concerns for disease flares and morbidity. If you have lupus, know someone with lupus, or if you are treating someone with lupus; join us in learning more and enlightening others, on the seriously, sinister and severe impact of SLE on the patient, family and society at large.
SARAA is campaigning for the urgent registration of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for the treatment of SLE. Chloroquine sulphate, though as effective as HCQ, is shown to have greater potential for toxicity, particularly retinal toxicity which can lead to irreversible blindness.
PAtients with SLE are feared to be at greater risk of COVID-19 related complications. This is because of the condition itself, but more especially because of the therapies used in treating lupus. Immunosuppressive medications like corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, MMF and biologicals, place SLE patients at very high risk of morbidity/mortality from coronavirus infection. This was emphasised by the NHS in their strict social shielding of these patients (See the NHS guide to social distancing in the rheumatic patient).