Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Musculoskeletal findings are common in sickle cell patients and may be confused with inflammatory arthritis. In addition, complications such as frequent infections may create difficulties while choosing drugs such as steroids, methotrexate, or antiTNFs. Our aim is to reveal whether the treatment is different in sickle cell patients with rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Materials and methods: Patients followed by Rheumatology and Hematology divisions of Hatay Mustafa Kemal University Hospital were retrospectively screened. Excluding patients with musculoskeletal findings associated with sickle cell disease (SCD), patients with chronic or acute inflammatory arthritis were enrolled into study. Demographic data, disease activities, the drugs used, frequency of infection, and sickle cell-related crisis before and after rheumatic disease diagnosis-treatment of the patients were examined. Results: Inflammatory rheumatic disease was detected in 14 of 28 sickle cell patients evaluated in the rheumatology department for musculoskeletal complaints. Twelve of the patients were female and 2 were male. The median duration of rheumatic disease was 27 months (16.5). Eight of these patients had rheumatoid arthritis, 1 had ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, gout, connective tissue disease, undifferentiated monoarthritis, and 1 patient had undifferentiated oligoarthritis. For rheumatic disease, 11 (78.6%) of the patients were using steroids, 8 (57.1%) hydroxychloroquine, 4 (28.6%) methotrexate and sulfasalazine, 2 (14.3%) leflunomide, 1 (7.1%) anti-TNF (etanercept), and 1 allopurinol and colchicine. The frequency of SCD-related crisis and annual serious infections before and after rheumatic disease treatment were similar (p = 0.31). Conclusion: The clinical manifestations of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and sickle cell disease may overlap. The use of drugs such as steroids, methotrexate, or anti-TNF in sickle cell patients with rheumatic disease is the same as in patients without sickle cell disease. However, treatment should be individualized in patients with complications such as infection.


Arthritis, sickle cell disease, steroid, methotrexate, anti-TNF

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