This year’s European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) congress was a busy one indeed! A record breaking >5000 abstract submissions and 32 industry-supported symposia, many running simultaneously, reflecting the highly-competitive nature of the meeting and underscoring the need for communications and content with a difference.
Key front page EULAR Congress News themes included:
Patient engagement with their treatment and their disease
Enabling and encouraging patients to be more than passive participants in their own care was a very hot topic. Dr Yeliz Prior, PhD, Director of postgraduate research at the School of Health Sciences at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK noted that “We know that patient information and education have been shown to improve pain, self-efficacy and overall quality of life in people with musculoskeletal conditions (MSCs)”. She added that “Informed patients are better equipped to distinguish and manage the symptoms of MSCs, use treatments effectively, identify and access [the] appropriate health and social care services they need, manage work and develop better coping strategies to deal with the negative psychological impact of their own conditions, such as stress, anxiety and depression”.
The ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’ campaign
The theme of patient engagement was also reflected in EULARs ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’ campaign. The campaign is now in its second year and aims to raise awareness of how important early diagnosis, and early treatment where indicated, is in preventing further damage for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). Prof. Gerd R. Burmester (Past President of EULAR and Professor of medicine at Berlin’s Charité University Clinic) noted that by encouraging people to work together, positive steps can be taken to improve the lives of those living with RMDs. This is particularly significant as awareness of the importance of early diagnosis is limited amongst the general public, in people with RMDs, and even among many doctors and health professionals in rheumatology.
The importance of keeping the patient at the centre of the decision to switch from an originator biologic to a biosimilar was also at the forefront of many presentations and discussions. There was a call for more randomised controlled trials on the safety of multiple switching, and discussion about the vital role of pharmacovigilance in confirming the safety of all biologics on a long-term basis.
We’re looking forward to next year’s agenda already!