ARTICLE: Long-term use of immunosuppressive medicines and in-hospital COVID-19 outcomes: a retrospective cohort study using data from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative
AUTHORS: Kathleen M Andersen, Benjamin A Bates, Emaan S Rashidi, Amy L Olex, Roslyn B Mannon, Rena C Patel, Jasvinder Singh, Jing Sun, Paul G Auwaerter, Derek K Ng, Jodi B Segal, Brian T Garibaldi, Hemalkumar B Mehta, G Caleb Alexander, National COVID Cohort Collaborative Consortium (Melissa A Haendel, Christopher G Chute)
JOURNAL: Lancet Rheumatol. 2021 Nov 15. doi: 10.1016/S2665-9913(21)00325-8. Online ahead of print.
Background: Many individuals take long-term immunosuppressive medications. We evaluated whether these individuals have worse outcomes when hospitalised with COVID-19 compared with non-immunosuppressed individuals.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), the largest longitudinal electronic health record repository of patients in hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in the USA, between Jan 1, 2020, and June 11, 2021, within 42 health systems. We compared adults with immunosuppressive medications used before admission to adults without long-term immunosuppression. We considered immunosuppression overall, as well as by 15 classes of medication and three broad indications for immunosuppressive medicines. We used Fine and Gray's proportional subdistribution hazards models to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) for the risk of invasive mechanical ventilation, with the competing risk of death. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate HRs for in-hospital death. Models were adjusted using doubly robust propensity score methodology.
Findings: Among 231 830 potentially eligible adults in the N3C repository who were admitted to hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 during the study period, 222 575 met the inclusion criteria (mean age 59 years [SD 19]; 111 269 [50%] male). The most common comorbidities were diabetes (23%), pulmonary disease (17%), and renal disease (13%). 16 494 (7%) patients had long-term immunosuppression with medications for diverse conditions, including rheumatological disease (33%), solid organ transplant (26%), or cancer (22%). In the propensity score matched cohort (including 12 841 immunosuppressed patients and 29 386 non-immunosuppressed patients), immunosuppression was associated with a reduced risk of invasive ventilation (HR 0·89, 95% CI 0·83-0·96) and there was no overall association between long-term immunosuppression and the risk of in-hospital death. None of the 15 medication classes examined were associated with an increased risk of invasive mechanical ventilation. Although there was no statistically significant association between most drugs and in-hospital death, increases were found with rituximab for rheumatological disease (1·72, 1·10-2·69) and for cancer (2·57, 1·86-3·56). Results were generally consistent across subgroup analyses that considered race and ethnicity or sex, as well as across sensitivity analyses that varied exposure, covariate, and outcome definitions.
Interpretation: Among this cohort, with the exception of rituximab, there was no increased risk of mechanical ventilation or in-hospital death for the rheumatological, antineoplastic, or antimetabolite therapies examined.
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