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Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation Releases First Rheumatology Guide for Disorder

Saying the Guidelines fill a “significant clinical void,” the organization celebrated awareness of the rheumatic condition with a series of stringently approved recommendations for its treatment.

Coinciding with World Sjögren’s Day (July 23rd), the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation (SSF) announced the release of a rheumatology guide for care of the disease. Published in Arthritis Care and Research, Treatment Guidelines for Rheumatologic Manifestations of Sjögren’s is a Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) that puts forth 19 recommendations for the treatment and care of those with the disorder, an inflammatory disease that impacts patients in a variety of ways.

The Guidelines were compiled after an extensive literature review and involved the input of patients, RNs, doctors, and over 100 experts. Ultimately, a Consensus Expert Panel of between 30 and 40 clinicians approved the recommendations, requiring a minimum of 75% agreement to be included in the document. Recommendations include “A decision tree for the use of oral DMARDs for inflammatory musculoskeletal (MSK) pain; use of self-care measures and advice regarding exercise to reduce fatigue; and the use of rituximab in selected clinical settings for oral and ocular dryness and for certain extraglandular manifestations.”

According to a press release that accompanied the release of the CPG, as many as 4 million Americans may suffer from Sjögren’s Syndrome, half of them undiagnosed. A common rheumatic autoimmune disease that often impacts the tear and saliva glands, it may be linked to an increased risk of lymphoma. “These first ever, standard of care guidelines for systemic Sjögren's in the U.S. will fill a significant clinical void,” SSF CEO Steven Taylor declares, “But beyond that, the guidelines will inform health care coverage policy, lead to needed educational programs, and highlight opportunities for future research."

The committee was co-chaired by Steven E. Carsons, MD, and Ann Parke, MD, and the process itself was overseen by Frederick Vivino, MD, Chief of Rheumatology at the Presbyterian Medical Center of the University of Pennsylvania. With Vivino’s leadership, the group has now released Ocular, Oral, and Rheumatology Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment of Sjögren’s.