Rheumatology Department Specialist Prof. Dr. Umut Kalyoncu said that it is vital to regularly follow up chronic rheumatological diseases. Kalyoncu emphasized the importance of drugs, drawing attention to rheumatology patients who gave up drugs that suppress the immune system, especially during the pandemic period. Kalyoncu noted that there was no change in the first 1-2 weeks in patients who quit the drug, but that joint pain increased within 1 to 3 months.
Stating that almost all rheumatological diseases are chronic and should be followed up regularly, Kalyoncu said, “We give immunomodulators to most of our patients.
These drugs have possible side effects of their own. For this reason, it is important to follow up regularly. Accordingly, the complaints of the patients should also be followed up regularly. For example, our patients who use drugs such as ‘methotrexate’, ‘leflunomide’, ‘salazopyrin’ should have liver and kidney tests and blood counts at regular intervals, “he said.
Kalyoncu also said about how often routine controls will be performed in rheumatological diseases, “It is a situation that varies from patient to patient, but suppose the patient has no complaints, in this case, regular follow-up is required every 6 months.
In the period when there are complaints such as joint swelling, such as hand-ankle swelling, it is necessary to come to the control immediately. Apart from this, we invite our patients for a control between 6 weeks and 3 months in cases where we start a new treatment and want to see the result.
In a patient group where everything is going very well, there are rare cases where we recommend a follow-up once a year. If we say the average, regular follow-up every 6 months is very important in terms of rheumatological diseases. “Those who have rheumatological diseases should be more careful during the pandemic period, Kalyoncu said:
“Because we know that it can have serious consequences. The drugs used by people with a rheumatological disease have the potential to increase this risk a little. A significant portion of our patients experience fear during this period. Some neglect their controls in order not to come to the hospital. As a matter of fact, some drugs suppress the immune system during the pandemic period. Patients with rheumatological diseases should not stop taking their medication during the pandemic period.Although they do not feel much for the first 1-2 weeks after stopping the medication, joint complaints started to exacerbate within 1 to 3 months and very frequently.
Our patients think that they can manage in the first weeks, but unfortunately, the disease flares up after the effect of the drugs we give is a little longer effective. In this case, we have to increase the treatment and sometimes add cortisone / steroid. These are the most unwanted situations. For these reasons, we recommend our patients not to disrupt their treatment.
Important recommendations of rheumatology societies in Europe and America are that rheumatological patients should not stop their medication. The disease gets worse when they stop taking the medication, and the risk of contracting infections such as coronavirus increases after their illness flares. Not only is it caught, but the risk of the disease to progress badly increases after it is caught. “