Biologics not associated with COVID-19 risk or mortality
COVID-19 mortality was not increased in patients on immunosuppressive biologics, according to a study.
“The COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns about management of patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases treated with immunosuppressive biologics,” Vartan Pahalyants, MD, MBA, from the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues wrote.
“As population level analyses of this patient group remain limited, we compared COVID-19 incidence and subsequent mortality in a large cohort of patients prescribed biologics and matched controls.”
The retrospective matched cohort study, detailed in a brief report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, included 7,361 patients who received biologics and 74,910 matched controls.
The most frequently prescribed biologics were adalimumab (28.4%), infliximab (15.6%), rituximab (15.6%), etanercept (11.9%) and dupilumab (8.6%). The most common indications for biologics were rheumatoid arthritis (27.5%), psoriasis (27.3%), psoriatic arthritis (16.2%), Crohn’s disease (24.9%) and ulcerative colitis (18.9%).
COVID-19 infection rates were not associated with biologic use (OR = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.71-1.09). Mortality rates — adjusted for demographics, comorbidity burden and local infection rates — were similar between those taking biologics and the matched controls (OR = 1.13; 95% CI, 0.57-2.76).
In addition, those treated with TNF inhibitors (adalimumab, infliximab and etanercept) had a lesser chance to contract COVID-19 (OR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.48-098; P = 0.04).
“Despite the ongoing vaccination efforts, COVID-19 remains a top health concern. The major finding of our study is that biologics did not increase the risk of positive COVID-19 diagnosis ... Furthermore, we did not identify an association between biologics and mortality,” the authors wrote.