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Clinical guidelines

UK gets first Sjögren's syndrome guidelines

The British Society of Rheumatology has published the first UK clinical guidelines[1] for adults with primary Sjögren’s syndrome. 

The guidelines, which are accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, include advice for healthcare professionals across specialities, including rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, dentists, GPs and nurses, as well as self-management advice for patients.

Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the moisture-producing glands. The main symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, but it can also have systemic effects such as fatigue and arthritis. Most new cases occur in women in their 40s and 50s, although 10% of cases are men. 

Topics covered in the new guidelines include treatment of dry eyes and mouth, systemic disease, lymphoma risk and disease management during pregnancy. The document includes assessments of the evidence for various immunosuppressants and biologic drugs in the treatment of Sjögren’s syndrome, as well as recommendations for non-pharmacological interventions such as a graded-exercise programme for patients with fatigue and patient support resources.

The British Society of Rheumatology says the guidelines are important because patients are often seen by professionals across a range of specialities, and there is a lack of awareness about how best to manage the condition. 

“Condition-specific guidelines are so important for ironing out inconsistencies in practice and putting the evidence base at the heart of what we can do for our patients,” says Elizabeth MacPhie, chair of the British Society for Rheumatology’s standards, audit and guidelines working group.

“Now we have published the Sjögren’s guideline, the next challenge is raising awareness of it — colleagues both inside and beyond the speciality of rheumatology must know the Sjögren’s guideline is out there and ready to use”. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203106

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