Objectives: To explore the 10-year tolerability profile of glucocorticoids (GC) use in patients with early RA.
Methods: Analysis of 10-year outcome from the early arthritis ESPOIR cohort. Patients were stratified in two groups, without or with GC treatment at least once during their follow-up. The primary outcome was a composite of deaths, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), severe infections and fractures. The weighted Cox time-dependent analysis model was used with inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) propensity score method.
Results: Among the 608 patients [480 women, mean age of 47.5 (12.1) years], 397 (65%) received low-dose GC [median 1.9 mg/day (IQR 0.6-4.2), mean cumulative prednisone dose 8468 mg (8376), mean duration 44.6 months (40.1)]. In univariate analysis, over 95 total events (10 deaths, 18 CVDs, 32 fractures and 35 severe infections), patients taking GC experienced more events (n = 71) than those without GC (n = 24) (P =0.035). Highest cumulative exposure of GC (≥8.4 g) was associated with highest risk of occurrence of the primary outcome (24.3%, P =0.007), CVDs (7.9%, P =0.001) and severe infections (9.9%, P =0.024). The risk of events over time was significantly associated with GC, age, hypertension and ESR. The risk associated with GC treatment increased between the first follow-up visit [hazard ratio (HR) at 1 year = 0.46, 95% CI: 0.23, 0.90] and 10 years (HR = 6.83, 95% CI: 2.29, 20.35).
Conclusion: The 10-year analysis of this prospective early RA cohort supports a dose and time-dependent impact of low-dose GC treatment, with a long-term high risk of severe outcomes.
Trial registration: (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03666091).
Keywords: early arthritis; glucocorticoids; rheumatoid arthritis; safety outcomes.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.