IMPORTANCE: The frequency of antipsychotic (AP) use during pregnancy has approximately doubled during the last decade. However, little is known about their safety for the developing fetus, and concerns have been raised about a potential association with congenital malformations.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the risk for congenital malformations overall and cardiac malformations associated with first-trimester exposure to APs.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This nationwide sample of 1 360 101 pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid with a live-born infant constituted the pregnancy cohort nested in the Medicaid Analytic Extract database, which included data from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2010. Participants were enrolled in Medicaid from 3 months before their last menstrual period through at least 1 month after delivery. Relative risks (RRs) were estimated using generalized linear models with fine stratification on the propensity score to control for the underlying psychiatric disorders and other potential confounders. Data were analyzed during 2015.
EXPOSURES: Use of APs during the first trimester, the etiologically relevant period for organogenesis.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Major congenital malformations overall and cardiac malformations identified during the first 90 days after delivery.
RESULTS: Of the 1 341 715 pregnancies that met inclusion criteria (mean [SD] age of women, 24.02 [5.77] years), 9258 (0.69%) filled at least 1 prescription for an atypical AP and 733 (0.05%) filled at least 1 prescription for a typical AP during the first trimester. Overall, 32.7 (95% CI, 32.4-33.0) per 1000 births not exposed to APs were diagnosed with congenital malformations compared with 44.5 (95% CI, 40.5-48.9) per 1000 births exposed to atypical and 38.2 (95% CI, 26.6-54.7) per 1000 births exposed to typical APs. Unadjusted analyses suggested an increased risk for malformations overall for atypical APs (RR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.24-1.50) but not for typical APs (RR, 1.17; 95% CI, 0.81-1.68). After confounding adjustment, the RR was reduced to 1.05 (95% CI, 0.96-1.16) for atypical APs and 0.90 (95% CI, 0.62-1.31) for typical APs. The findings for cardiac malformations were similar. For the individual agents examined, a small increased risk in overall malformations (RR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.02-1.56) and cardiac malformations (RR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.88-1.81) was found for risperidone that was independent of measured confounders.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Evidence from this large study suggests that use of APs early in pregnancy generally does not meaningfully increase the risk for congenital malformations overall or cardiac malformations in particular. The small increase in the risk for malformations observed with risperidone requires additional study.
OBJECTIVE: To describe patterns and secular trends in the use of immunomodulatory agents in pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), or ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
METHODS: We identified a cohort of women with SLE, RA, PsA, or AS enrolled in public (Medicaid, 2001-2010) or private (Optum Clinformatics, 2004-2012) health insurance, and we included women filling prescriptions for immunomodulatory agents (including steroids, nonbiologic disease-modifying agents, and biologic agents) in the 3-month period immediately prior to their pregnancies. The proportion of women continuing or discontinuing individual agents during pregnancy was reported. Annual prescription fill rates, estimated after accounting for patient characteristics and random variability from year to year in mixed-effects regression models, were used to conduct time trends analysis.
RESULTS: We included 2,645 women being treated with immunomodulatory agents prior to pregnancy. More women with PsA or AS stopped filling prescriptions for immunomodulatory agents during pregnancy (61%) than women with SLE (26%) or women with RA (34.5%). From the first to the third trimester, the proportions of women filling prescriptions for immunomodulatory agents decreased across all indications. Overall, steroids and hydroxychloroquine were the most frequently used agents in pregnancy (48.4% and 27.1%, respectively). The rates (reported per 100 deliveries in our cohort) for steroid prescription fills during pregnancy decreased significantly from 54.4 in 2001 to 42.4 in 2012, while rates for biologic agents increased from 5.1 in 2001 to 16.6 in 2012 (P < 0.001 for both trends).
CONCLUSION: Steroids and hydroxychloroquine remain the most widely prescribed treatment options in pregnancy, but the use of biologic agents is becoming increasingly common.
OBJECTIVE: To systematically compare the risk of adverse events (AEs) for 13 targeted immunomodulators (TIMs) indicated for ankylosing spondylitis (AS), inflammatory bowel diseases, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis (PsA), or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS: We searched electronic databases through July 2015 to retrieve randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies comparing AEs between 2 or more TIMs head-to-head. We reported on the following outcomes: number of AEs, discontinuation due to AEs, serious AEs, mortality, serious infections, tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and malignancies. We qualitatively synthesized the literature and conducted random-effects meta-analyses if 3 or more studies provided data for an outcome.
RESULTS: Ten head-to-head RCTs and 51 observational studies were included in this systematic review. A majority of the studies (70%) were conducted in RA patients. Risk of treatment discontinuation due to AEs was higher with infliximab than with adalimumab or etanercept in RA, PsA, and AS. A higher risk for serious infections was noted with infliximab than with abatacept, adalimumab, or etanercept in RA. Risk for treatment discontinuation due to AEs, serious infections, and tuberculosis was lower with etanercept than with adalimumab in RA. Limited evidence suggested no comparative differences in risk for mortality, malignancies, and herpes zoster for adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab in RA.
CONCLUSION: Important differences were noted in the safety profile of TIMs in RA, generally favoring abatacept, adalimumab, and etanercept over infliximab. Head-to-head comparative evidence for other TIMs and non-RA populations was insufficient to draw conclusions for most of the safety outcomes.
PURPOSE: This study examined the accuracy of claims-based algorithms to identify smoking against self-reported smoking data.
METHODS: Medicare patients enrolled in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study were identified. For each patient, self-reported smoking status was extracted from Women's Hospital Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study and the date of this measurement was defined as the index-date. Two algorithms identified smoking in Medicare claims: (i) only using diagnoses and procedure codes and (ii) using anti-smoking prescriptions in addition to diagnoses and procedure codes. Both algorithms were implemented: first, only using 365-days pre-index claims and then using all available pre-index claims. Considering self-reported smoking status as the gold standard, we calculated specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value (NPV), and area under the curve (AUC).
RESULTS: A total of 128 patients were included in this study, of which 48% reported smoking. The algorithm only using diagnosis and procedure codes had the lowest sensitivity (9.8%, 95%CI 2.4%-17.3%), NPV (54.9%, 95%CI 46.1%-63.9%), and AUC (0.55, 95%CI 0.51-0.59) when applied in the period of 365 days pre-index. Incorporating pharmacy claims and using all available pre-index information improved the sensitivity (27.9%, 95%CI 16.6%-39.1%), NPV (60.4%, 95%CI 51.3%-69.5%), and AUC (0.64, 95%CI 0.58-0.70). The specificity and positive predictive value was 100% for all the algorithms tested.
CONCLUSION: Claims-based algorithms can identify smokers with limited sensitivity but very high specificity. In the absence of other reliable means, use of a claims-based algorithm to identify smoking could be cautiously considered in observational studies.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: β blockers are widely used in the treatment of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. These medications cross the placenta and may cause physiologic changes in neonates exposed in utero. We sought to define the risks of neonatal hypoglycemia and bradycardia associated with maternal exposure to β blockers at the time of delivery in a large, nationwide cohort of Medicaid beneficiaries.
METHODS: We used a cohort of 2 292 116 completed pregnancies linked to liveborn infants of Medicaid-enrolled women from 2003 to 2007. We examined the risks of neonatal hypoglycemia and neonatal bradycardia associated with maternal exposure to β blockers at the time of delivery. Propensity score matching was used to control for potential confounders including maternal demographics, obstetric and medical conditions, and exposure to other medications.
RESULTS: There were 10 585 (0.5%) pregnancies exposed to β blockers at the time of delivery. The risk of neonatal hypoglycemia was 4.3% in the β blocker-exposed neonates versus 1.2% in the unexposed; the risk of neonatal bradycardia was 1.6% in the exposed versus 0.5% in the unexposed. After controlling for confounders, risk remained elevated for both neonatal hypoglycemia and bradycardia among exposed pregnancies versus unexposed (adjusted odds ratio, 1.68, 95% confidence interval, 1.50-1.89 and adjusted odds ratio, 1.29, 95% confidence interval, 1.07-1.55, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that neonates born to mothers exposed to β blockers in late pregnancy, including labetalol, are at elevated risk for neonatal hypoglycemia and bradycardia.
In a case-control study, matching on a disease risk score (DRS), which includes many confounders, should theoretically result in greater precision than matching on only a few confounders; however, this has not been investigated. We simulated 1,000 hypothetical cohorts with a binary exposure, a time-to-event outcome, and 13 covariates. Each cohort comprised 2 subcohorts of 10,000 patients each: a historical subcohort and a concurrent subcohort. DRS were estimated in the historical subcohorts and applied to the concurrent subcohorts. Nested case-control studies were conducted in the concurrent subcohorts using incidence density sampling with 2 strategies-matching on age and sex, with adjustment for additional confounders, and matching on DRS-followed by conditional logistic regression for 9 outcome-exposure incidence scenarios. In all scenarios, DRS matching yielded lower average standard errors and mean squared errors than did matching on age and sex. In 6 scenarios, DRS matching also resulted in greater empirical power. DRS matching resulted in less relative bias than did matching on age and sex at lower outcome incidences but more relative bias at higher incidences. Post-hoc analysis revealed that the effect of DRS model misspecification might be more pronounced at higher outcome incidences, resulting in higher relative bias. These results suggest that DRS matching might increase the statistical efficiency of case-control studies, particularly when the outcome is rare.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the risk of incident hypertension between initiators of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibitors and initiators of nonbiologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (hereafter referred to as nonbiologics) in rheumatoid arthritis patients taking methotrexate monotherapy.
METHODS: We conducted a cohort study using insurance claims data (2001-2012) from the US. We identified initiators of use of either TNF-α inhibitors or nonbiologics. Subsequent exposure to these agents was measured monthly in a time-varying manner. The outcome of interest was incident hypertension, defined by a diagnosis and a prescription for an antihypertensive drug. Marginal structural models estimated hazard ratios (HRs) adjusted for both baseline and time-varying confounders. To validate the primary analysis, we designed a verification analysis to evaluate a known association between leflunomide (a nonbiologic disease modifying agent) and hypertension.
RESULTS: We identified 4,822 initiations of TNF-α inhibitor use and 2,400 of nonbiologic use. Crude incidence rates of hypertension per 1,000 person-years of follow-up were 36 (95% CI [confidence interval]: 32, 41) for the TNF-α inhibitor group and 42 (95% CI: 34, 51) for the nonbiologics group. The crude HR of TNF-α inhibitors versus nonbiologics for the risk of incident hypertension was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.67, 1.1). After adjusting for both baseline and time-varying covariates using marginal structural models, the HR was 0.95 (95% CI: 0.74, 1.2). In the verification analysis, the adjusted HR of incident hypertension was 2.3 (95% CI: 1.7, 3.0) in leflunomide initiators compared with methotrexate initiators.
CONCLUSION: Treatment with TNF-α inhibitors was not associated with a reduced risk of incident hypertension compared with nonbiologics in rheumatoid arthritis patients.See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/EDE/B36.
IMPORTANCE: The association between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant use during pregnancy and risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) has been controversial since the US Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory in 2006.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the risk of PPHN associated with exposure to different antidepressant medication classes late in pregnancy.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Cohort study nested in the 2000-2010 Medicaid Analytic eXtract for 46 US states and Washington, DC. Last follow-up date was December 31, 2010.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 3,789,330 pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid from 2 months or fewer after the date of last menstrual period through at least 1 month after delivery. The source cohort was restricted to women with a depression diagnosis and logistic regression analysis with propensity score adjustment applied to control for potential confounders. EXPOSURES FOR OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES: SSRI and non-SSRI monotherapy use during the 90 days before delivery vs no use.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Recorded diagnosis of PPHN during the first 30 days after delivery.
RESULTS: A total of 128,950 women (3.4%) filled at least 1 prescription for antidepressants late in pregnancy: 102,179 (2.7%) used an SSRI and 26,771 (0.7%) a non-SSRI. Overall, 7630 infants not exposed to antidepressants were diagnosed with PPHN (20.8; 95% CI, 20.4-21.3 per 10,000 births) compared with 322 infants exposed to SSRIs (31.5; 95% CI, 28.3-35.2 per 10,000 births), and 78 infants exposed to non-SSRIs (29.1; 95% CI, 23.3-36.4 per 10,000 births). Associations between antidepressant use and PPHN were attenuated with increasing levels of confounding adjustment. For SSRIs, odds ratios were 1.51 (95% CI, 1.35-1.69) unadjusted and 1.10 (95% CI, 0.94-1.29) after restricting to women with depression and adjusting for the high-dimensional propensity score. For non-SSRIs, the odds ratios were 1.40 (95% CI, 1.12-1.75) and 1.02 (95% CI, 0.77-1.35), respectively. Upon restriction of the outcome to primary PPHN, the adjusted odds ratio for SSRIs was 1.28 (95% CI, 1.01-1.64) and for non-SSRIs 1.14 (95% CI, 0.74-1.74).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Evidence from this large study of publicly insured pregnant women may be consistent with a potential increased risk of PPHN associated with maternal use of SSRIs in late pregnancy. However, the absolute risk was small, and the risk increase appears more modest than suggested in previous studies.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the risk of incident hyperlipidemia in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients after initiation of various disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
METHODS: We conducted a cohort study using insurance claims data (2001-2012) in early RA patients. Early RA was defined by the absence of any RA diagnosis or DMARD prescriptions for 12 months. Four mutually exclusive groups were defined based on DMARD initiation: tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) inhibitors ± nonbiologic (nb) DMARDs, methotrexate (MTX) ± nonhydroxycholorquine nbDMARDs, hydroxychloroquine ± non-MTX nbDMARDs, and other nbDMARDs only. The primary outcome was incident hyperlipidemia, defined by a diagnosis and a prescription for a lipid-lowering agent. For the subgroup of patients with laboratory results available, change in lipid levels was assessed. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models and propensity score (PS) decile stratification with asymmetric trimming were used to control for confounding.
RESULTS: Of the 17,145 early RA patients included in the study, 364 developed incident hyperlipidemia. The adjusted hazard ratios (HRs; 95% confidence intervals [95% CIs]) for hyperlipidemia were 1.41 (95% CI 0.99, 2.00) for TNFα inhibitors, 0.81 (95% CI 0.63, 1.04) for hydroxychloroquine, and 1.33 (95% CI 0.95, 1.84) for other nbDMARDs compared with MTX in the full cohort, while HRs for the PS trimmed cohort were 1.18 (95% CI 0.80, 1.73), 0.75 (95% CI 0.58, 0.98), and 1.41 (95% CI 1.01, 1.98), respectively. In the subgroup analysis, hydroxychloroquine use showed significant reduction in low-density lipoprotein (-8.9 mg/dl, 95% CI -15.8, -2.0), total cholesterol (-12.3 mg/dl, 95% CI -19.8, -4.8) and triglyceride levels (-19.5 mg/dl, 95% CI -38.7, -0.3) from baseline compared with MTX.
CONCLUSION: Use of hydroxychloroquine may be associated with a lower risk of hyperlipidemia among early RA patients.
OBJECTIVE: To provide absolute and relative risk estimates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) based on duration and timing of prescription opioid use during pregnancy in the presence or absence of additional NAS risk factors of history of opioid misuse or dependence, misuse of other substances, non-opioid psychotropic drug use, and smoking.
DESIGN: Observational cohort study.
SETTING: Medicaid data from 46 US states.
PARTICIPANTS: Pregnant women filling at least one prescription for an opioid analgesic at any time during pregnancy for whom opioid exposure characteristics including duration of therapy: short term (<30 days) or long term (≥ 30 days); timing of use: early use (only in the first two trimesters) or late use (extending into the third trimester); and cumulative dose (in morphine equivalent milligrams) were assessed.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Diagnosis of NAS in liveborn infants.
RESULTS: 1705 cases of NAS were identified among 290,605 pregnant women filling opioid prescriptions, corresponding to an absolute risk of 5.9 per 1000 deliveries (95% confidence interval 5.6 to 6.2). Long term opioid use during pregnancy resulted in higher absolute risk of NAS per 1000 deliveries in the presence of additional risk factors of known opioid misuse (220.2 (200.8 to 241.0)), alcohol or other drug misuse (30.8 (26.1 to 36.0)), exposure to other psychotropic medications (13.1 (10.6 to 16.1)), and smoking (6.6 (4.3 to 9.6)) than in the absence of any of these risk factors (4.2 (3.3 to 5.4)). The corresponding risk estimates for short term use were 192.0 (175.8 to 209.3), 7.0 (6.0 to 8.2), 2.0 (1.5 to 2.6), 1.5 (1.0 to 2.0), and 0.7 (0.6 to 0.8) per 1000 deliveries, respectively. In propensity score matched analyses, long term prescription opioid use compared with short term use and late use compared with early use in pregnancy demonstrated greater risk of NAS (risk ratios 2.05 (95% confidence interval 1.81 to 2.33) and 1.24 (1.12 to 1.38), respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Use of prescription opioids during pregnancy is associated with a low absolute risk of NAS in the absence of additional risk factors. Long term use compared with short term use and late use compared with early use of prescription opioids are associated with increased NAS risk independent of additional risk factors.
INTRODUCTION: We conducted an external validation study to examine the correlation of a previously published claims-based index for rheumatoid arthritis severity (CIRAS) with disease activity score in 28 joints calculated by using C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP) and the multi-dimensional health assessment questionnaire (MD-HAQ) physical function score.
METHODS: Patients enrolled in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study (BRASS) and Medicare were identified and their data from these two sources were linked. For each patient, DAS28-CRP measurement and MD-HAQ physical function scores were extracted from BRASS, and CIRAS was calculated from Medicare claims for the period of 365 days prior to the DAS28-CRP measurement. Pearson correlation coefficient between CIRAS and DAS28-CRP as well as MD-HAQ physical function scores were calculated. Furthermore, we considered several additional pharmacy and medical claims-derived variables as predictors for DAS28-CRP in a multivariable linear regression model in order to assess improvement in the performance of the original CIRAS algorithm.
RESULTS: In total, 315 patients with enrollment in both BRASS and Medicare were included in this study. The majority (81%) of the cohort was female, and the mean age was 70 years. The correlation between CIRAS and DAS28-CRP was low (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.07, P = 0.24). The correlation between the calculated CIRAS and MD-HAQ physical function scores was also found to be low (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.08, P = 0.17). The linear regression model containing additional claims-derived variables yielded model R(2) of 0.23, suggesting limited ability of this model to explain variation in DAS28-CRP.
CONCLUSIONS: In a cohort of Medicare-enrolled patients with established RA, CIRAS showed low correlation with DAS28-CRP as well as MD-HAQ physical function scores. Claims-based algorithms for disease activity should be rigorously tested in distinct populations in order to establish their generalizability before widespread adoption.
Prescription opioids are used prenatally for the management of pain, as well as for opiate dependency. Opioids are known to cross the placenta and despite the evidence of possible adverse effects on fetal development, studies have consistently shown prescription opioids are among the most commonly prescribed medications and the prevalence of use is increasing among pregnant women. This article summarizes the available literature documenting potential harms associated with prescription opioid use during pregnancy, including poor fetal growth, preterm birth, birth defects, and neonatal abstinence syndrome.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the teratogenic potential of statins.
DESIGN: Cohort study.
SETTING: United States.
PARTICIPANTS: A cohort of 886,996 completed pregnancies linked to liveborn infants of women enrolled in Medicaid from 2000 to 2007.
METHODS: We examined the risk of major congenital malformations and organ specific malformations in offspring associated with maternal use of a statin in the first trimester. Propensity score based methods were used to control for potential confounders, including maternal demographic characteristics, obstetric and medical conditions, and use of other drugs.
RESULTS: 1152 (0.13%) women used a statin during the first trimester. In unadjusted analyses, the prevalence of malformations in the offspring of these women was 6.34% compared with 3.55% in those of women who did not use a statin in the first trimester (relative risk 1.79, 95% confidence interval 1.43 to 2.23). Controlling for confounders, particularly pre-existing diabetes, accounted for this increase in risk (1.07, 0.85 to 1.37). There were also no statistically significant increases in any of the organ specific malformations assessed after accounting for confounders. Results were similar across a range of sensitivity analyses.
CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis did not find a significant teratogenic effect from maternal use of statins in the first trimester. However, these findings need to be replicated in other large studies, and the long term effects of in utero exposure to statins needs to be assessed, before use of statins in pregnancy can be considered safe.
Desai RJ, Hernandez-Diaz S, Bateman BT, Huybrechts KF. In Reply: Cho et al. Obstet Gynecol 2014;124(3):638.
OBJECTIVE: To report the prevalence of prescription opioid use and evaluate the trends in a large cohort of Medicaid-enrolled pregnant women.
METHODS: A cohort of pregnancies was identified using data from the Medicaid Analytical eXtract for the period of 2000-2007. Dispensing of opioids, as a class and separately for individual agents, was evaluated using claims from filled prescriptions. Variations in patterns of prescription opioid fills were examined by demographic characteristics, by geographic region, and over time. Median number of opioid prescriptions dispensed and cumulative days of availability for prescription opioids during pregnancy were reported.
RESULTS: The study population consisted of more than 1.1 million women with completed pregnancies from 46 U.S. states and Washington, DC. One of five women from our cohort (21.6%) filled a prescription for an opioid during pregnancy; this proportion increased from 18.5% in 2000 to 22.8% in 2007. Substantial regional variation was seen with the proportion of women who filled a prescription during pregnancy, ranging between 9.5% and 41.6% across the states. Codeine and hydrocodone were the most commonly prescribed opioids. Among women filling at least one opioid prescription, the median (interquartile range) number of prescriptions filled was 1 (1-2) and the median (interquartile range) cumulative days of opioid availability during pregnancy were 5 (3-13) days.
CONCLUSION: We observed high and increasing number of filled prescriptions for opioids during pregnancy among Medicaid-enrolled women. These findings call for further safety evaluations of these drugs and their effects on the developing fetus to inform clinical practice.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II.
BACKGROUND: Introduction of biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) has revolutionized treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, due to substantially higher costs of biologics compared with nonbiologics, patients with less insurance generosity may have difficulty affording these agents, which may lead to potential access disparities.
OBJECTIVE: To identify factors affecting treatment initiation with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibitor biologics in patients with RA.
METHODS: Health insurance claims data derived from Truven's MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters and Medicare Supplemental and Coordination of Benefits (2007-2010) were used to conduct a retrospective cohort study. Two separate cohorts of RA patients were identified: (1) monotherapy nonbiologic DMARD users and (2) combination therapy nonbiologic DMARD users. The primary outcome was TNF-α inhibitor initiation 12 months following an index inpatient or outpatient RA visit during 2008-2009. Predictors were measured 12 months pre-index and grouped into predisposing, enabling, or need factors based on Andersen's Behavior Model. Predisposing variables included age, sex, and geographic location; enabling variables included insurance-related factors such as capitation, payer type, and insurance generosity, which was defined using cost-sharing information from prescriptions filled by the patients in the previous year; and need variables included disease-related factors such as severity of RA, use of pain control medications, and presence of other comorbidities. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used to derive estimates of the impact of individual predictors.
RESULTS: Initiation of TNF-α inhibitors was observed in 10.31% of the monotherapy nonbiologic DMARD users (1,922 of 18,641) and 13.09% of combination nonbiologic DMARD users (983 of 7,508). Among monotherapy nonbiologic DMARD users, initiation with TNF-α inhibitors was associated with the predisposing factors of age (OR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.97-0.98 for each year increase) and geographic region (Midwest vs. South OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.73-0.93; Northeast vs. South OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.64-0.92; and West vs. South OR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.74-0.99); enabling factors of visit to rheumatologists (1 visit vs. no visit OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.01-1.46), health insurance type (commercial vs. Medicare supplemental OR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.66-0.95), and drug benefit generosity (above average vs. poor OR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.01-1.34 and most generous vs. poor OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.05-1.40); and need factors of RA severity (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.14-1.23 for each unit increase in a claims-based RA severity index [CIRAS]), pre-index pain reliever use (steroids OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.62-2.02; nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAID] OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.05-1.31; COX-2 inhibitors OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.05-1.41), and comorbidities (OR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.90-0.99 for each unit increase in a comorbidity index). Treatment initiation with TNF-α inhibitors among patients with combination therapy nonbiologic DMARDs use at baseline was associated with age (OR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.97-0.99 for each year increase) and region (Midwest vs. South OR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.68-0.96). Stronger associations with some of the need factors were observed (CIRAS OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.21-1.35 for each unit increase, steroids use OR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.73-2.42, and nonselective NSAID use OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.17-1.58) in these patients compared with the monotherapy nonbiologic DMARD users. However, unlike the monotherapy DMARD user group, the enabling factors of health insurance type and drug benefit generosity were not found to be associated with TNF-α inhibitor initiation among nonbiologic DMARD combination therapy users.
CONCLUSIONS: Potential disparities in the initiation of TNF-α inhibitors among RA patients on monotherapy DMARDs at baseline were noted among older patients, patients in certain geographic region of the United States, and patients with less generous prescription drug benefits. Although future research should examine the impact of these disparities on health outcomes, payers should be aware of the potential for undertreatment among these groups of RA patients when making formulary decisions.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events between use of tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors (TNFi) and nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS: A nested case-control study was conducted using data from Truven's MarketScan commercial and Medicare claims database for patients with early RA who started treatment with either a TNFi or a nonbiologic DMARD between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2010. Date of CV event diagnosis for cases was defined as the event date, and 12 age-matched and sex-matched controls were sampled using incidence density sampling. Drug exposure was defined into the following mutually exclusive categories hierarchically: (1) current use of TNFi (with or without nonbiologics), (2) past use of TNFi (with or without nonbiologics), (3) current use of nonbiologics only, and (4) past use of nonbiologics only. Current use was defined as any use in the period 90 days prior to the event date. Conditional logistic regression models were used to derive incidence rate ratios (IRR).
RESULTS: From the cohort of patients with early RA, 279 cases of incident CV events and 3348 matched controls were identified. The adjusted risk of CV events was not significantly different between current TNFi users and current nonbiologic users (IRR 0.92, 95% CI 0.59-1.44). However, past users of nonbiologics showed significantly higher risk compared to current nonbiologic users (IRR 1.47, 95% CI 1.04-2.08).
CONCLUSION: No differences in the CV risk were found between current TNFi and current nonbiologic DMARD treatment in patients with early RA.
The objective of this study was to characterize analgesic medication errors and to evaluate their association with patient harm. The authors conducted a cross-sectional analysis of individual medication error incidents reported by North Carolina nursing homes to the Medication Error Quality Initiative (MEQI) during fiscal years 2010-2011. Bivariate associations between analgesic medication errors with patient factors, error-related factors, and impact on patients were tested with chi-square tests. A multivariate logistic regression model explored the relationship between type of analgesic medication errors and patient harm, controlling for patient- and error-related factors. A total of 32,176 individual medication error incidents were reported over a 2-year period in North Carolina nursing homes, 12.3% (n = 3949) of which were analgesic medication errors. Of these analgesic medication errors, opioid and nonopioid analgesics were involved in 3105 and 844 errors, respectively. Opioid errors were more likely to be wrong drug errors, wrong dose errors, and administration errors compared with nonopioid errors (P < .0001 for all comparisons). In the multivariate model, opioid errors were found to have higher odds of patient harm compared with nonopioid errors (odds ratio [OR] = 3, 95% confodence interval [CI]: 1.1-7.8). The authors conclude that opioid analgesics represent the majority of analgesic error reports, and these error reports reflect an increased likelihood of patient harm compared with nonopioid analgesics.
Appropriate and safe use of medications is an important aspect of quality of care in nursing home patients. Because of their complex medication use process, anticoagulants are prone to medication errors in the frail elderly. Therefore, we designed this study to characterize anticoagulant medication errors and to evaluate their association with patient harm using individual medication error incidents reported by all North Carolina nursing homes to the Medication Error Quality Initiative (MEQI) during fiscal years 2010-2011. Characteristics, causes, and specific outcomes of harmful anticoagulant medication errors were reported as frequencies and proportions and compared between anticoagulant errors and other medication errors using chi-square tests. A multivariate logistic regression model explored the relationship between anticoagulant medication errors and patient harm, controlling for patient- and error-related factors.