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BACKGROUND - There is persistent confusion as to whether abacavir (ABC) increases the risk of myocardial infarction (MI), and whether such risk differs by type 1 (T1MI) or 2 (T2MI) MI in adults with HIV.
METHODS - Incident MIs in North American Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design participants were identified from 2001 to 2013. Discrete time marginal structural models addressed channeling biases and time-dependent confounding to estimate crude hazard ratio (HR) and adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) and 95% confidence intervals; analyses were performed for T1MI and T2MI separately. A sensitivity analysis evaluated whether Framingham risk score (FRS) modified the effect of ABC on MI occurrence.
RESULTS - Eight thousand two hundred sixty-five adults who initiated antiretroviral therapy contributed 29,077 person-years and 123 MI events (65 T1MI and 58 T2MI). Median follow-up time was 2.9 (interquartile range 1.4-5.1) years. ABC initiators were more likely to have a history of injection drug use, hepatitis C virus infection, hypertension, diabetes, impaired kidney function, hyperlipidemia, low (<200 cells/mm) CD4 counts, and a history of AIDS. The risk of the combined MI outcome was greater for persons who used ABC in the previous 6 months [aHR = 1.84 (1.17-2.91)]; and persisted for T1MI (aHR = 1.62 [1.01]) and T2MI [aHR = 2.11 (1.08-4.29)]. FRS did not modify the effect of ABC on MI (P = 0.14) and inclusion of FRS in the MSM did not diminish the effect of recent ABC use on the combined outcome.
CONCLUSIONS - Recent ABC use was associated with MI after adjustment for known risk factors and for FRS. However, screening for T1MI risks may not identify all or even most persons at risk of ABC use-associated MIs.
OBJECTIVE - To study systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in the electronic health record (EHR), we must accurately identify patients with SLE. Our objective was to develop and validate novel EHR algorithms that use International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), Clinical Modification codes, laboratory testing, and medications to identify SLE patients.
METHODS - We used Vanderbilt's Synthetic Derivative, a de-identified version of the EHR, with 2.5 million subjects. We selected all individuals with at least 1 SLE ICD-9 code (710.0), yielding 5,959 individuals. To create a training set, 200 subjects were randomly selected for chart review. A subject was defined as a case if diagnosed with SLE by a rheumatologist, nephrologist, or dermatologist. Positive predictive values (PPVs) and sensitivity were calculated for combinations of code counts of the SLE ICD-9 code, a positive antinuclear antibody (ANA), ever use of medications, and a keyword of "lupus" in the problem list. The algorithms with the highest PPV were each internally validated using a random set of 100 individuals from the remaining 5,759 subjects.
RESULTS - The algorithm with the highest PPV at 95% in the training set and 91% in the validation set was 3 or more counts of the SLE ICD-9 code, ANA positive (≥1:40), and ever use of both disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and steroids, while excluding individuals with systemic sclerosis and dermatomyositis ICD-9 codes.
CONCLUSION - We developed and validated the first EHR algorithm that incorporates laboratory values and medications with the SLE ICD-9 code to identify patients with SLE accurately.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.
OBJECTIVE - Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Some RA therapies may modify this risk, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. The cholesterol efflux capacity of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is associated with a reduced CHD risk in non-RA populations; however, inflammation may impair the function of HDL. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether reduced inflammation resulting from treatment with methotrexate (MTX), adalimumab (ADA), or tocilizumab (TCZ) would increase the net cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL in patients with RA.
METHODS - A longitudinal multicenter study repository (Treatment Efficacy and Toxicity in Rheumatoid Arthritis Database and Repository) provided clinical information for and serum samples from 70 patients with RA before and 6 months after starting treatment with a new drug (MTX [n = 23], ADA [n = 22], or TCZ [n = 25]). Disease activity was measured using the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints using the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR). The net cholesterol efflux capacity was measured in paired serum samples using THP-1 macrophages, and total cellular cholesterol was measured by fluorometric assay.
RESULTS - The DAS28-ESR decreased with all treatments (P < 0.001). Net cholesterol efflux capacity was not significantly changed after 6 months of new RA therapy (mean ± SD 36.9 ± 17.3% units at baseline versus 38.0% ± 16.9% units at 6 months [P = 0.58]). However, change in net cholesterol efflux capacity was associated with change in the DAS28-ESR (ρ = -0.25, P = 0.04). In a post hoc analysis of patients with impaired net cholesterol efflux capacity at baseline, treatment with TCZ resulted in significant improvement in net cholesterol efflux capacity (21.9 ± 14.7% units at baseline versus 31.3% ± 12.8% units at 6 months [P < 0.02]), but this was not observed with MTX or ADA.
CONCLUSION - Net cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL cholesterol did not change significantly after 6 months of new RA therapy, except in patients with impaired baseline cholesterol efflux capacity who were receiving TCZ. Change in disease activity was associated with change in the net cholesterol efflux capacity.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.
OBJECTIVE - Animal studies and in vitro human studies suggest that certain opioid analgesics impair crucial immune functions. This study was undertaken to determine whether opioid use is associated with increased risk of serious infection in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS - We conducted a self-controlled case series analysis on a retrospective cohort of 13,796 patients with RA enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid in 1995-2009. Within-person comparisons of the risk of hospitalization for serious infection during periods of opioid use versus non-use were performed using conditional Poisson regression. Fixed confounders were accounted for by design; time-varying confounders included age and use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, glucocorticoids, and proton-pump inhibitors. In additional analyses, risks associated with new opioid use, use of opioids known to have immunosuppressive properties, use of long-acting opioids, and different opioid dosages were assessed. Sensitivity analyses were performed to account for potential protopathic bias and confounding by indication.
RESULTS - Among 1,790 patients with RA who had at least 1 hospitalization for serious infection, the adjusted incidence rate of serious infection was higher during periods of current opioid use compared to non-use, with an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 1.39 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.19-1.62). The incidence rate was also higher during periods of long-acting opioid use, immunosuppressive opioid use, and new opioid use compared to non-use (IRR 2.01 [95% CI 1.52-2.66], IRR 1.72 [95% CI 1.33-2.23], and IRR 2.38 [95% CI 1.65-3.42], respectively). Results of sensitivity analyses were consistent with the main findings.
CONCLUSION - In within-person comparisons of patients with RA, opioid use was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for serious infection.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.
Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is characterised by the presence of immune responses to previously acquired Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection without clinical evidence of active tuberculosis (TB). Here we report evidence-based guidelines from the World Health Organization for a public health approach to the management of LTBI in high risk individuals in countries with high or middle upper income and TB incidence of <100 per 100 000 per year. The guidelines strongly recommend systematic testing and treatment of LTBI in people living with HIV, adult and child contacts of pulmonary TB cases, patients initiating anti-tumour necrosis factor treatment, patients receiving dialysis, patients preparing for organ or haematological transplantation, and patients with silicosis. In prisoners, healthcare workers, immigrants from high TB burden countries, homeless persons and illicit drug users, systematic testing and treatment of LTBI is conditionally recommended, according to TB epidemiology and resource availability. Either commercial interferon-gamma release assays or Mantoux tuberculin skin testing could be used to test for LTBI. Chest radiography should be performed before LTBI treatment to rule out active TB disease. Recommended treatment regimens for LTBI include: 6 or 9 month isoniazid; 12 week rifapentine plus isoniazid; 3-4 month isoniazid plus rifampicin; or 3-4 month rifampicin alone.
Copyright ©ERS 2015.
OBJECTIVE - To determine interrelationships between the expression of long intergenic (noncoding) RNA-p21 (lincRNA-p21), NF-κB activity, and responses to methotrexate (MTX) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by analyzing patient blood samples and cell culture models.
METHODS - Expression levels of long noncoding RNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) were determined by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Western blotting and flow cytometry were used to quantify levels of intracellular proteins. Intracellular NF-κB activity was determined using an NF-κB luciferase reporter plasmid.
RESULTS - Patients with RA expressed reduced basal levels of lincRNA-p21 and increased basal levels of phosphorylated p65 (RelA), a marker of NF-κB activation. Patients with RA who were not treated with MTX expressed lower levels of lincRNA-p21 and higher levels of phosphorylated p65 compared with RA patients treated with low-dose MTX. In cell culture using primary cells and transformed cell lines, MTX induced lincRNA-p21 through a DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA PKcs)-dependent mechanism. Deficiencies in the levels of PRKDC mRNA in patients with RA were also corrected by MTX in vivo. Furthermore, MTX reduced NF-κB activity in tumor necrosis factor α-treated cells through a DNA PKcs-dependent mechanism via induction of lincRNA-p21. Finally, we observed that depressed levels of TP53 and lincRNA-p21 increased NF-κB activity in cell lines. Decreased levels of lincRNA-p21 did not alter NFKB1 or RELA transcripts; rather, lincRNA-p21 physically bound to RELA mRNA.
CONCLUSION - Our findings support a model whereby depressed levels of lincRNA-p21 in RA contribute to increased NF-κB activity. MTX decreases basal levels of NF-κB activity by increasing lincRNA-p21 levels through a DNA PKcs-dependent mechanism.
Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.
OBJECTIVE - To examine the hypothesis that improving insulin sensitivity improves vascular function in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS - We performed a 20-week, single center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Patients with RA (n = 34) with moderate disease activity who were receiving stable disease-modifying antirheumatic drug therapy were randomized to drug sequence, receiving either pioglitazone 45 mg/day or matching placebo for 8 weeks, followed by a 4-week washout period and the alternative treatment for 8 weeks. We measured changes in vascular stiffness (augmentation index and aortic pulse wave velocity [PWV]), endothelial function (reactive hyperemia index), and blood pressure. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels and the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance were also measured. The treatment effect of pioglitazone on outcomes was analyzed using linear mixed-effects models.
RESULTS - Pioglitazone treatment resulted in a change in augmentation index of -4.7% units (95% confidence interval [95% CI] -7.9, -1.5) (P = 0.004) and in diastolic blood pressure of -3.0 mm Hg (95% CI -5.7, -0.2) (P = 0.03), but did not significantly change aortic PWV (P = 0.33) or reactive hyperemia index (P = 0.46). The improvements in augmentation index and diastolic blood pressure were not mediated by the effect of pioglitazone on insulin resistance or inflammation.
CONCLUSION - Our findings indicate that pioglitazone improves some indices of vascular function, including augmentation index and diastolic blood pressure, in patients with RA. This is not mediated by improved insulin sensitivity.
Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.
BACKGROUND - Elevated tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α likely contributes to the excess cardiovascular risk observed in rheumatoid arthritis. We compared the cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis patients starting a TNF-α blocking agent versus a nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (nbDMARD).
METHODS - Subjects with rheumatoid arthritis participating in several different US insurance programs between 1998 and 2007 who received methotrexate were eligible. Those who added a TNF-α blocking agent were compared with subjects who added a nbDMARD in Cox regression models stratified by propensity score decile and adjusted for oral glucocorticoid dosage. We examined the composite cardiovascular end point of myocardial infarction, stroke, or coronary re-vascularization after 6 months.
RESULTS - We compared 8656 new users of a nbDMARD with 11,587 new users of a TNF-α blocking agent with similar baseline covariates. Incidence rates per 100 person-years for the composite cardiovascular end point were 3.05 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.54-3.65) for nbDMARDs and 2.52 (95% CI, 2.12-2.98) for TNF-α blocking agents. The hazard ratio (HR) for the TNF-α blocking agent compared with nbDMARD carrying the first exposure forward was 0.80 (95%, CI 0.62-1.04), while the HR for the as-treated analysis was 0.71 (95% CI, 0.52-0.97). The potential cardiovascular benefit of TNF-α blocking agents was strongest among individuals ≥65 years of age (HR 0.52; 95% CI, 0.34 -0.77; P for interaction = 0.075).
CONCLUSION - Among subjects with rheumatoid arthritis, TNF-α blocking agents may be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular events compared with an nbDMARD. Randomized controlled clinical trials should be considered to test this hypothesis.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVES - To determine among patients with autoimmune diseases in the USA whether the risk of non-viral opportunistic infections (OI) was increased among new users of tumour necrosis factor α inhibitors (TNFI), when compared to users of non-biological agents used for active disease.
METHODS - We identified new users of TNFI among cohorts of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis-psoriatic arthritis-ankylosing spondylitis patients during 1998-2007 using combined data from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, two pharmaceutical assistance programmes for the elderly, Tennessee Medicaid and US Medicaid/Medicare programmes. We compared incidence of non-viral OI among new TNFI users and patients initiating non-biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) overall and within each disease cohort. Cox regression models were used to compare propensity-score and steroid- adjusted OI incidence between new TNFI and non-biological DMARD users.
RESULTS - Within a cohort of 33 324 new TNFI users we identified 80 non-viral OI, the most common of which was pneumocystosis (n=16). In the combined cohort, crude rates of non-viral OI among new users of TNFI compared to those initiating non-biological DMARD was 2.7 versus 1.7 per 1000-person-years (aHR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.6). Baseline corticosteroid use was associated with non-viral OI (aHR 2.5, 95% CI 1.5 to 4.0). In the RA cohort, rates of non-viral OI among new users of infliximab were higher when compared to patients newly starting non-biological DMARD (aHR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2 to 5.6) or new etanercept users (aHR 2.9, 95% CI 1.5 to 5.4).
CONCLUSIONS - In the USA, the rate of non-viral OI was higher among new users of TNFI with autoimmune diseases compared to non-biological DMARD users.
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