Importance: Infusion reactions occur in 7% to 20% of patients receiving biologics. Home infusions are convenient and incur lower costs but may be associated with more adverse events; the safety of receiving biologic infusions for immune-mediated diseases at home remains unclear.
Objective: To assess whether patients receiving home biologic infusions have increased adverse events requiring emergency department (ED) or hospital admission compared with patients receiving facility infusions.
Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective cohort study used administrative claims data from a large national insurer for adult patients who received biologic infusions for immune-mediated disease between January 2007 and December 2017. Patients with hematologic malignant neoplasms or bone marrow transplantation were excluded. Data were analyzed from August 2019 to October 2020.
Main outcomes and measures: ED or hospital admission on the same or next day after administration of a biologic infusion at home vs at a facility; secondary outcomes included discontinuation of the biologic after an ED or hospital admission and postinfusion mortality.
Results: Of a total of 57 220 patients (mean [SD] age, 50.1 [14.8] years; 512 314 [68.1%] women) who received 752 150 biologic infusions (34 078 home infusions [4.5%] to 3954 patients and 718 072 facility infusions [95.5%] to 54 770 patients), patients who received home infusions were younger (mean [SD] age, 43.2 [13.2] vs 51.3 [14.8] years), more likely to be men (14 031 [41.2%] vs 225 668 [31.4%]), and had a lower Charlson comorbidity score compared with patients who received facility infusions (mean [SD] score, 0.5 [1.0] vs 1.1 [1.3]). Home infusions were associated with 25% increased odds of ED or hospital admission on the same or next day after the infusion (odds ratio [OR], 1.25; 95% CI, 1.09-1.44; P = .002) and 28% increased odds of discontinuation of the biologic after the ED or hospital admission (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.08-1.51; P = .005). There was no difference in postinfusion mortality between home or facility infusions. The rates of adverse events were highest with home infusions of tocilizumab (48 of 481 infusions [10.0%]), vedolizumab (150 of 2681 infusions [5.6%]), and infliximab (1085 of 20 653 infusions [5.3%]), although the number of tocilizumab and vedolizumab infusions was low.
Conclusions and relevance: In this study, biologic infusions administered at home, compared with those administered at a facility, were associated with increased adverse events requiring escalation of care. Because the number of home infusions has increased and is expected to continue to rise, the safety implications of administering biologic infusions at home needs to be further assessed.