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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
Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program ; 2020(1): 319-327, 2020 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1043090


Corticosteroids constitute a first-line therapy for adults and children suffering from nonmalignant immune-mediated hematologic diseases. However, high disease relapse rates during the tapering period or upon drug discontinuation result in long-term corticosteroid use that increases the risk of infection. This same concept applies to other immunosuppressive agents, such as antimetabolites, calcineurin inhibitors, and cyclophosphamide. Corticosteroids are associated with a length-of-treatment and dose-dependent risk for infection. Screening and antimicrobial prophylaxis against tuberculosis, hepatitis B, Strongyloides stercoralis, and Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) might be indicated in patients who are scheduled to be on high-dose corticosteroids for >4 weeks (>30 mg of prednisone-equivalent dose [PEQ]) or in patients chronically treated (≥8 weeks of continuous or intermittent corticosteroid use) with moderate doses (≥15 to <30 mg PEQ). Antimetabolites (azathioprine, mycophenolate) increase the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML); however, other opportunistic infections and viral reactivation have also been reported. In case of new onset of neurological symptoms, PML needs to be considered, and an urgent neurology consultation should be obtained. Cyclophosphamide-induced myelosuppression can lead to serious infections related to neutropenia. PJP prophylaxis should be considered with combination therapy of cyclophosphamide and corticosteroids until a PEQ dose ≤ 5 mg/d is reached. Data on infectious risk when cyclosporine is used in patients with nonmalignant hematologic diseases are lacking. Discontinuation of any immunosuppressive agent during an episode of infection is recommended. In all patients, adherence to an age-based immunization schedule is appropriate.

Adrenal Cortex Hormones/adverse effects , Antimetabolites/adverse effects , Cyclophosphamide/adverse effects , Cyclosporine/adverse effects , Immunosuppressive Agents/adverse effects , Infections/chemically induced , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/therapeutic use , Aged , Antimetabolites/therapeutic use , Cyclophosphamide/therapeutic use , Cyclosporine/therapeutic use , Female , Hematologic Diseases/drug therapy , Herpes Zoster/chemically induced , Herpes Zoster/prevention & control , Humans , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , Infection Control , Pneumonia, Pneumocystis/chemically induced , Pneumonia, Pneumocystis/prevention & control , Strongyloidiasis/chemically induced , Strongyloidiasis/prevention & control