Risk factors for infection in patients with remitted rheumatic diseases treated with glucocorticoids

Acta Med Okayama. 2011 Oct;65(5):329-34. doi: 10.18926/AMO/47015.


It is well known that infection is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in rheumatic disease patients treated with high-dose glucocorticoids, especially in the early phase after achievement of disease remission. The aim of this study was to identify the risk factors for infection, with a focus on the dose of glucocorticoids administered, following the achievement of disease remission in rheumatic diseases patients. We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of rheumatic disease patients who had been treated with glucocorticoids. The primary endpoint was the incidence rate of infection during a period from 1 to 2 months after the commencement of treatment. From April 2006 to March 2010, 19 of 92 patients suffered from infection during the observation period. Age ≧ 65 yrs, presence of interstitial pneumonia, diagnosis of systemic vasculitis and serum creatinine level ≧ 2.0 mg/dl were found to be univariate predictors for infection. However, only the presence of interstitial pneumonia was an independent risk factor for infection (HR=4.50, 95%CI=1.65 to 14.44) by the Cox proportional hazard model. Even after achievement of clinical remission, careful observation is needed for patients with interstitial pneumonia, more so than for those receiving high-dose glucocorticoids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infections / etiology*
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents