Management Techniques During a Pandemic for Rheumatic Disease

 I’m Dr. Peggy Crow. I’m the Physician in Chief at HSS, and my responsibility is the Department of Medicine. Our many rheumatologists and other physicians, nurses, administrative staff, so many who are dedicated to our patients and our community during this trying time.

We really don’t have evidence yet that patients are rheumatic diseases are at an increased risk of becoming infected. But it is possible that should you become infected, that your underlying disease or, or both, the medications that you take might put you at increased risk of doing poorly. We’ll only really understand the extent to which that might be true, or might not be true, after we’re able to collect some more data.

You’ve heard a lot about hydroxychloroquine, or Plaquenil. Plaquenil is a drug that nearly all of our lupus patients take, many of our rheumatoid arthritis patients, as well as some others. And there was some indication and publicity about the potential for Plaquenil to possibly be even protective of this coronavirus infection, or at least improve the outcomes of patients who might develop the infection. Just from my own personal point of view,

I have not seen any compelling demonstration that Plaquenil either prevents the development of this infection or is particularly helpful in modifying the course of the infection. I’ll just point out, though, that should, for whatever reason, you usually take Plaquenil and you’re having difficulty acquiring, acquiring that drug, please just be in touch with your physician.

We can make alternative medical regimen plans with you to get through this period. But we’re very hopeful, actually, that with, with the weeks going on, that Plaquenil will be available for our patients. We certainly hope so. I want to emphasize that you need to please stay safe.

Please be in touch with your physician, should you have any concerns about how you’re doing, whether you develop any of the signs that could be consistent with coronavirus infection.


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