Background: We examined the cardiovascular risk of abatacept compared with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with and without diabetes mellitus (DM).
Methods and results: We conducted a cohort study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who newly started abatacept or TNF inhibitors using claims data from Medicare and MarketScan. The primary outcome was a composite cardiovascular end point of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke/transient ischemic attack, and coronary revascularization. To account for >60 baseline characteristics, abatacept initiators were 1:1 propensity score (PS) matched to TNF initiators in each database. Cox proportional hazards models estimated hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) in the PS-matched cohort per database. A fixed-effects meta-analysis pooled database-specific HRs. We included a total of 13 039 PS-matched pairs of abatacept and TNF inhibitor initiators (6103 pairs in Medicare and 6936 pairs in MarketScan). A total of 34.7% in Medicare and 19.8% in MarketScan had baseline DM. The HR (95% CI) for the primary outcome associated with abatacept use versus TNF inhibitor was 0.81 (0.66-0.99) in Medicare and 0.95 (0.74-1.23) in MarketScan, with a pooled HR of 0.86 (95% CI, 0.73-1.01; P=0.3 for heterogeneity). The risk of the primary outcome was lower in abatacept initiators versus TNF inhibitors in the DM subgroup, with a pooled HR of 0.74 (95% CI, 0.57-0.96; P=0.7 for heterogeneity), but not in the non-DM subgroup, with a pooled HR of 0.94 (95% CI, 0.77-1.14; P=0.4 for heterogeneity).
Conclusions: In this large population-based cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, abatacept use appeared to be associated with a modestly reduced cardiovascular risk when compared with TNF inhibitor use, particularly in patients with DM.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; comparative effectiveness research; diabetes mellitus; rheumatoid arthritis; treatment.
© 2018 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley.