Importance: During the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, case reports have suggested that the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may lead to adverse outcomes.
Objective: To study the association of NSAID use with adverse outcomes in patients hospitalized with influenza or influenza pneumonia.
Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study used propensity score matching among 7747 individuals aged 40 years or older who were hospitalized with influenza, confirmed by polymerase chain reaction or antigen testing, between 2010 and 2018. Data were collected using Danish nationwide registers. All analyses reported were performed on May 29, 2020.
Exposures: Prescription fill of an NSAID within 60 days before admission.
Main outcomes and measures: Risk ratio (RR) and risk difference (RD) with 95% CIs for intensive care unit admission and death within 30 days of admission.
Results: A total of 7747 patients (median [interquartile range] age, 71 [59-80] years, 3980 [51.4%] men) with confirmed influenza were identified. Of these, 520 (6.7%) were exposed to NSAIDs. In the unmatched cohorts, 104 of 520 patients (20.0%) who used NSAIDs and 958 of 7227 patients (13.3%) who did not use NSAIDs were admitted to the intensive care unit. For death within 30 days of admission, we observed 37 events (7.1%) among those who used NSAIDs compared with 563 events (7.8%) among those who did not. Current NSAID use was associated with intensive care unit admission (RR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.26 to 1.81; RD, 6.7%; 95% CI, 3.2% to 10.3%), while NSAID use was not associated with death (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.26; RD, -0.7%; 95% CI, -3.0% to 1.6%). In the matched cohorts, risks were unchanged for patients who used NSAIDs, while 83 ICU admissions (16.0%) and 36 deaths (6.9%) were observed among matched individuals who did not use NSAIDs. Matched (ie, adjusted) analyses yielded attenuated risk estimates for intensive care unit admission (RR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.95 to 1.63; RD, 4.0%; 95% CI, -0.6% to 8.7%) and death (RR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.60; RD, 0.2%; 95% CI, -2.9% to 3.3%). Associations were more pronounced among patients who used NSAIDs for a longer period (eg, for intensive care unit admission: RR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.19 to 3.06; RD, 13.4%; 95% CI, 4.0% to 22.8%).
Conclusions and relevance: In this cohort study of adult patients hospitalized with influenza, the use of NSAIDs was not associated with 30-day intensive care unit admission or death in adjusted analyses. There was an association between long-term use of NSAIDs and intensive care unit admission.