Summary of guidelines for DMARDs for elective surgery


Clinical question: What is the best management for disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) for patients with RA, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) undergoing elective total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or total hip arthroplasty (THA)?

Background: There are limited data in the evaluation of risks of flare with stopping DMARDs versus the risks of infection with continuing them perioperatively for elective TKA or THA, which are procedures frequently required by this patient population.

Study design: Multistep systematic literature review.

Setting: Collaboration between American College of Rheumatology and American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

Synopsis: Through literature review and a requirement of 80% agreement by the panel, seven recommendations were created. Continue methotrexate, leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine. Biologic agents should be held with surgery scheduled at the end of dosing cycle and restarted when the wound is healed, sutures/staples are removed, and there are no signs of infection (~14 days). Tofacitinib should be held for all conditions except SLE for 1 week. For severe SLE, continue mycophenolate mofetil, azathioprine, cyclosporine, or tacrolimus but hold for 1 week for nonsevere SLE. If current dose of glucocorticoids is less than 20 mg/day, the current dose should be administered rather than administering stress-dose steroids.

Limitations include a limited number of studies conducted in the perioperative period, the existing data are based on lower dosages, and it is unknown whether results can be extrapolated to surgical procedures beyond TKA and THA. Additionally there is a need for further studies on glucocorticoid management and biologic agents.

Bottom line: Perioperative management of DMARDs is complex and understudied, but the review provides an evidence-based guide for patients undergoing TKA and THA.

Citation: Goodman SM, Springer B, Gordon G, et. al. 2017 American College of Rheumatology/American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons Guideline for the Perioperative Management of Antirheumatic Medication in Patients With Rheumatic Diseases Undergoing Elective Total Hip or Total Knee Arthroplasty. Arthritis Care Res. 2017 Aug;69(8):1111-24.

Dr. Kochar is hospitalist and assistant professor of medicine, Icahn School of Medicine of the Mount Sinai Health System.

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