BACKGROUND: Multiple case reports suggest that olmesartan may be linked to sprue-like enteropathy; however, few epidemiological studies have examined this association and results have been mixed.
AIM: To assess whether olmesartan is associated with a higher rate of enteropathy vs other angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
METHODS: We conducted a cohort study among ARB initiators in 5 US claims databases representing different health insurance programmes. Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for enteropathy-related outcomes, including coeliac disease, malabsorption, concomitant diagnoses of diarrhoea and weight loss, and non-infectious enteropathy, comparing olmesartan initiators to initiators of other ARBs after propensity score (PS) matching.
RESULTS: We identified 1 928 469 eligible patients. The unadjusted incidence rates were 0.82, 1.41, 1.66 and 29.20 per 1000 person-years for coeliac disease, malabsorption, concomitant diagnoses of diarrhoea and weight loss, and non-infectious enteropathy respectively. HRs after PS matching comparing olmesartan to other ARBs were 1.21 (95% CI, 1.05-1.40), 1.00 (95% CI, 0.88-1.13), 1.22 (95% CI, 1.10-1.36) and 1.04 (95% CI, 1.01-1.07) for each outcome. HRs were larger for patients aged 65 years and older (eg for coeliac disease, 1.57 [95% CI, 1.20-2.05]), for patients receiving treatment for more than 1 year (1.62 [95% CI, 1.24-2.12]), and for patients receiving higher cumulative olmesartan doses (1.78 [95% CI, 1.33-2.37]).
CONCLUSIONS: This large-scale, multi-database study found a higher rate of enteropathy in olmesartan initiators as compared to initiators of other ARBs, although the absolute incidence rate was low in both groups.