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Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia

Print version ISSN 0482-5004On-line version ISSN 1809-4570


MEDEIROS, Marta M. C. et al. Routine clinical practices of Brazilian rheumatologists: national overview. Rev. Bras. Reumatol. [online]. 2006, vol.46, n.2, pp.82-92. ISSN 0482-5004.

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate routine clinical practices of Brazilian rheumatologists. METHOD: Virtual clinical scenarios representing a range of rheumatological practical situations were sent by mail to 831 specialists certified by the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology (SBR) with postage-paid envelopes for reply. RESULTS: Only 21.4% of the questionnaires were returned. The average age of responding rheumatologists was 42.7 years (SD=11.7), with an average time since graduation from medical school of 19.8 years (SD=10.1). In a clinical scenario describing early active rheumatoid arthritis most respondents (84.7%) chose to initiate treatment with prednisone or prednisolone. The most chosen disease modifying antirheumatic drugs were methotrexate (84,2%) and chloroquine (63.8%). Four rheumatologists (2.8%) indicated biological agents (infliximab and etanercept) as their initial choice of treatment. Prophylaxis for corticoid-induced osteoporosis and calcium and vitamin D supplementation were recommended by only 61.2% and 46.5% of the respondents, respectively. In a clinical scenario describing systemic lupus erythematosus, almost all doctors prescribed oral corticoids (93.7%), chloroquine (92.5%) and photoprotection (93.7%). In the presence of lupus nephritis with unimpaired renal function and normal blood pressure levels, the most frequently adopted management was pulse therapy with corticoids (47.7%) or high doses of oral prednisone. Pulsetherapy with cyclophosphamide was indicated by 34.6% of the respondents. In a clinical scenario describing acute mechanical back pain without alarming signs, 55.4% stated that they would request no laboratory examinations on the first encounter and the main treatments of choice were non-hormonal antiinflammatory drugs (89.3%), muscle relaxant drugs (72.9%) and physical therapy (33.3%). Bed rest was recommended by 31.6% of the respondents. In a clinical scenario describing chronic back pain with recent X-ray showing first degree spondylolisthesis and disc arthrosis, 39.6% of the rheumatologists stated that they would not request additional examinations, while 26.2% and 24.4% would request computer tomography scans and magnetic resonance scans, respectively. The most frequently prescribed treatments were physical therapy (75.1%), muscle relaxant drugs (48.5%), RPG (45.6%), physical exercise (41%), Cox-2-selective non-hormonal antiinflammatory drugs (40.5%), amitriptyline (35.3%) and opioid analgesics (34.7%). The questionnaire also included scenarios describing knee arthrosis and shoulder pain. CONCLUSION: The low rate of response from rheumatologists may be associated with aspects of Brazilian culture. In fact, respondents displayed a very similar profile throughout the country. Most of the prescribed treatments agree with available evidence and reflect a homogeneous approach to rheumatological disease among professionals. However, although the present study has provided interesting information regarding clinical practices, the small number of respondents may not be particularly representative of the population of Brazilian rheumatologists.

Keywords : Clinical management; rheumatic diseases.

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