Biologics associated with significant reduction in mortality in population-based cohort

   As known, biologic agents may reduce the risk of premature mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Diane Lacaille, MD, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues evaluated the association between exposure to biologics and risk of mortality in RA, using a population-based RA cohort using administrative health data. 

   Their sample included 2156 biologic users and 2156 matched controls (mean age 56.3, 74.7% females). They observed 573 deaths (326 in controls; 247 in biologic users). Following data analysis, the researchers found that exposure to biologics was associated with a reduced risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.25, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18 to 0.36), P <0.0001). A sensitivity analysis not requiring matched controls to have used three prior disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs [DMARDs] or a recent change in DMARD yielded almost identical results (aHR 0.26, CI, 0.18 to 0.36), P <0.0001). 

   “In a population-based cohort, exposure to biologics was associated with a significant reduction in mortality,” Dr. Lacaille and colleagues concluded. “Given the increased mortality risk of RA, this has important implications for health policy makers, health care providers, and people with arthritis.”