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Role of comorbidities on therapeutic persistence of biological agents in rheumatoid arthritis: results from the RECord-linkage On Rheumatic Disease study on administrative healthcare databases

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journal contribution
posted on 04.03.2021, 11:00 by ME D’Amico, E Silvagni, G Carrara, A Zanetti, M Govoni, CA Scirè, A Bortoluzzi

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the impact of different comorbidities on thereflecting its safety profile persistence of biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), taking advantage of a retrospective analysis of administrative healthcare databases (AHDs).

Method: A retrospective observational study was conducted on AHDs of the Lombardy region, Italy (2004–2013). Among RA patients treated with bDMARDs, drug survival was estimated using Cox proportional hazard models [hazard ratio (HR), 95% confidence interval (CI)], crude and adjusted for prespecified confounders (gender, age, disease duration, concomitant use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, glucocorticoids, conventional DMARDs, specific bDMARDs), in first-line and subsequent lines of treatment. The role of comorbidities in administration of specific bDMARDs was analysed through multinomial logistic models.

Results: The study included 4657 RA patients. In the first-line treatment strategy, the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) (RA excluded) was significantly associated with an increased rate of bDMARD failure (CCI = 1: HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.13–1.46; CCI ≥ 2: HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.03–1.53). Among selected comorbidities, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.01–1.91), diabetes (HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.01–1.37), and previous-year bacterial infections (HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.30) were slightly associated with risk of bDMARD failure, while acute myocardial infarction (HR 1.30, 95% CI 0.97–1.75), mild liver disease (HR 1.21, 95% CI 0.91–1.60), and solid tumours (HR 1.19, 95% CI 0.93–1.53) were not. In the following treatment lines, neoplasms were associated with reduced risk of failure (HR 0.64, 95% CI 0.41–0.99). Multiple comorbidities were associated with first-line abatacept and rituximab administration.

Conclusions: Comorbidities affect treatment decisions in RA and influence bDMARD failure, and should be considered when analysing the persistence of biological therapy.


This work was supported by the Società Italiana di Reumatologia.