19 December 2019
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been used to manage many inflammatory skin conditions. Nevertheless, retinopathy continues to be its most significant adverse effect. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends baseline ophthalmologic screening in the first year of HCQ treatment. However, a recent study found an inadequate awareness of the recommendations. Furthermore, limited data are available regarding the implementation of the recommendations among dermatologists.
The aim of this study was to assess dermatologists’ adherence to recommendations pertaining to their current practice regarding HCQ toxicity detection.
A self-administrated questionnaire was distributed between February 2 and May 4, 2018, among members of the Saudi Society of Dermatology. The questionnaire comprised demographic-related questions and questions pertaining to each physician’s routine practice about the follow-up of HCQ-treated patients.
A total of 76 dermatologists completed the questionnaire. We achieved a response rate of 62.54%. More than half (43/76, 56%) of the dermatologists were male. Furthermore, more than half (41/76, 53%) of them reported treating 1 to 3 patients with HCQ during the last year. Furthermore, two-thirds (47/76, 61%) of them reported screening patients before initiating HCQ treatment. Regarding follow-up recommendations, 59% (45/76) of dermatologists reported yearly after starting treatment for no-risk patients, whereas 94% (72/76) reported “yearly within 5 years of treatment” for at-risk patients. Data were considered significant at P<.05. All analyses were performed using SPSS, version 20 (IBM).
Dermatologists in Saudi Arabia are not well informed about some aspects of the latest recommendations regarding screening for HCQ toxicity in terms of tests, follow-up timing, cessation of the drug, and causative agents. Therefore, we recommend conducting more studies in Saudi Arabia to determine the adherence of more physicians to the AAO recommendations. Furthermore, patient education regarding HCQ toxicity and increased patient awareness are recommended for effective and safe HCQ use.