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ISSN: 0034-6233
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Challenges of Egyptian patients with systemic lupus erythematosus during the COVID-19 pandemic

Samar Tharwat
Sherin Zohdy Mohamed
Mohammed Kamal Nassar

  1. Rheumatology and Immunology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Mansoura University, Faculty of Medicine, Egypt
  2. Department of Internal Medicine, Horus University, Faculty of Medicine, Egypt
  3. Mansoura Nephrology and Dialysis Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Mansoura University, Faculty of Medicine, Egypt
Online publish date: 2021/09/08
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Egypt is part of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has contributed to substantial deterioration of healthcare systems. The aim of this study was to assess the challenges faced by Egyptian systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Material and methods
This questionnaire-based study was carried out on 200 patients with SLE from Egypt. The questionnaire provided covered socioeconomic status, lupus disease data, information about COVID-19 infection, and medical and family history of COVID-19 infection.

The mean age of the participants was 30.1 ±8.4 years. 140/200 (70%) of the participants reported difficulty in obtaining medications during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly antimala­rials (60%). The lupus disease condition became worse because of the drug shortage in half of the participants. Wearing protective masks (74%) and using disinfectants of the hands several times per day (67%) were the most reported used measures. Forty patients (20%) had to stop or reduce taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs while 10 patients (5%) had to start taking antimalarials as a prophylaxis against COVID-19 infection. Among those who needed hospitalization, the main cause was lupus activity, and most of them (71%) experienced difficulty in hospital admission. Thirty-two patients (16%) had confirmed COVID-19 infection. About half of them had lupus flare and had to change the medications used for treatment of lupus.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has a negative impact on the healthcare provided to SLE patients in Egypt. Patients with SLE faced a shortage of their medications, especially antimala­rials, and difficulty in hospital admission.


systemic lupus erythematosus, COVID-19, healthcare

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