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Concerns and needs of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus regarding hydroxychloroquine supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic: results from a patient-centred survey
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  1. Marlene Plüß1,
  2. Gamal Chehab2,
  3. Peter Korsten1
  1. 1 Department of Nephrology and Rheumatology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Rheumatology & Hiller-Research Unit Rheumatology, Heinrich-Heine University, Duesseldorf, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Korsten, Department of Nephrology and Rheumatology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37075 Göttingen, Germany; peter.korsten{at}med.uni-goettingen.de

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We read the letter by Mathian et al with great interest.1 In their paper, the authors report on the course of COVID-19 in 17 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The data suggest that patients with SLE on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are not protected from COVID-19 infection but have a high level of comorbidities, which potentially renders them more susceptible to a severe course. HCQ, an essential drug for patients with SLE,2 has been advocated for prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19 by many. Subsequently, drug shortages have ensued, which has led to discussions on scientific reporting3 and ethics of treatment allocation4 because withdrawing HCQ in SLE is associated with flares.5 Rheumatologists are involved in this pandemic as counsellors for physicians unfamiliar with repurposed antirheumatic drugs used in COVID-19 but also face the concerns and needs of their chronically ill patients. These discussions also need to involve patients’ views. In SLE, this is particularly important.

To gain insights into supply chains of HCQ, we conducted a survey (online supplementary table S1) to investigate the current situation among patients with SLE in Germany. We received 554 responses; 185 were …

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