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Ann Intern Med ; 173(11): 870-878, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2110823


BACKGROUND: Low-dose glucocorticoids are frequently used for the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other chronic conditions, but the safety of long-term use remains uncertain. OBJECTIVE: To quantify the risk for hospitalized infection with long-term use of low-dose glucocorticoids in patients with RA receiving stable disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Medicare claims data and Optum's deidentified Clinformatics Data Mart database from 2006 to 2015. PATIENTS: Adults with RA receiving a stable DMARD regimen for more than 6 months. MEASUREMENTS: Associations between glucocorticoid dose (none, ≤5 mg/d, >5 to 10 mg/d, and >10 mg/d) and hospitalized infection were evaluated using inverse probability-weighted analyses, with 1-year cumulative incidence predicted from weighted models. RESULTS: 247 297 observations were identified among 172 041 patients in Medicare and 58 279 observations among 44 118 patients in Optum. After 6 months of stable DMARD use, 47.1% of Medicare patients and 39.5% of Optum patients were receiving glucocorticoids. The 1-year cumulative incidence of hospitalized infection in Medicare patients not receiving glucocorticoids was 8.6% versus 11.0% (95% CI, 10.6% to 11.5%) for glucocorticoid dose of 5 mg or less per day, 14.4% (CI, 13.8% to 15.1%) for greater than 5 to 10 mg/d, and 17.7% (CI, 16.5% to 19.1%) for greater than 10 mg/d (all P < 0.001 vs. no glucocorticoids). The 1-year cumulative incidence of hospitalized infection in Optum patients not receiving glucocorticoids was 4.0% versus 5.2% (CI, 4.7% to 5.8%) for glucocorticoid dose of 5 mg or less per day, 8.1% (CI, 7.0% to 9.3%) for greater than 5 to 10 mg/d, and 10.6% (CI, 8.5% to 13.2%) for greater than 10 mg/d (all P < 0.001 vs. no glucocorticoids). LIMITATION: Potential for residual confounding and misclassification of glucocorticoid dose. CONCLUSION: In patients with RA receiving stable DMARD therapy, glucocorticoids were associated with a dose-dependent increase in the risk for serious infection, with small but significant risks even at doses of 5 mg or less per day. Clinicians should balance the benefits of low-dose glucocorticoids with this potential risk. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Antirheumatic Agents/adverse effects , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/drug therapy , Glucocorticoids/adverse effects , Infections/chemically induced , Aged , Antirheumatic Agents/administration & dosage , Antirheumatic Agents/therapeutic use , Female , Glucocorticoids/administration & dosage , Glucocorticoids/therapeutic use , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors
Clin Pharmacol Ther ; 112(5): 990-999, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1694806


As the scientific research community along with healthcare professionals and decision makers around the world fight tirelessly against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the need for comparative effectiveness research (CER) on preventive and therapeutic interventions for COVID-19 is immense. Randomized controlled trials markedly under-represent the frail and complex patients seen in routine care, and they do not typically have data on long-term treatment effects. The increasing availability of electronic health records (EHRs) for clinical research offers the opportunity to generate timely real-world evidence reflective of routine care for optimal management of COVID-19. However, there are many potential threats to the validity of CER based on EHR data that are not originally generated for research purposes. To ensure unbiased and robust results, we need high-quality healthcare databases, rigorous study designs, and proper implementation of appropriate statistical methods. We aimed to describe opportunities and challenges in EHR-based CER for COVID-19-related questions and to introduce best practices in pharmacoepidemiology to minimize potential biases. We structured our discussion into the following topics: (1) study population identification based on exposure status; (2) ascertainment of outcomes; (3) common biases and potential solutions; and (iv) data operational challenges specific to COVID-19 CER using EHRs. We provide structured guidance for the proper conduct and appraisal of drug and vaccine effectiveness and safety research using EHR data for the pandemic. This paper is endorsed by the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE).

COVID-19 , Comparative Effectiveness Research , Humans , Comparative Effectiveness Research/methods , Electronic Health Records , Pharmacoepidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control
Rheumatol Int ; 41(10): 1755-1761, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384393


The SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic resulted in major disruptions to medical care. We aimed to understand changes in outpatient care delivery and use of telemedicine in U.S. rheumatology practices during this period. Rheumatology Informatics System Effectiveness (RISE) is a national, EHR-enabled registry that passively collects data on all patients seen by participating practices. Included practices were required to have been participating in RISE from January 2019 through August 2020 (N = 213). We compared total visit counts and telemedicine visits during March-August 2020 to March-August 2019 and stratified by locations in states with shelter-in-place (SIP) orders. We assessed characteristics of patients within each practice, including primary rheumatic diagnosis and disease activity scores, where available. We included 213 practices with 945,160 patients. Overall, we found visit counts decreased by 10.9% (from 1,302,455 to 1,161,051) between March and August 2020 compared to 2019; this drop was most dramatic during the month of April (- 22.3%). Telemedicine visits increased from 0% to a mean of 12.1%. Practices in SIP states had more dramatic decreases in visits, (11.5% vs. 5.3%). We found no major differences in primary diagnoses or disease activity across the two periods. We detected a meaningful decrease in rheumatology visits in March-August 2020 during the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic compared to the year prior with a concomitant increase in the use of telemedicine. Future work should address possible adverse consequences to patient outcomes due to decreased contact with clinicians.

Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Office Visits/statistics & numerical data , Rheumatology/organization & administration , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Registries , Rheumatology/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology