From the Journals

AFib, CVD risks similar after ustekinumab and TNF inhibitors in psoriatic patients



Patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis who started ustekinumab (Stelara) versus a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor had no differences in the overall risks of incident atrial fibrillation (AFib) or major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), according to authors of a retrospective cohort study of two commercial insurance databases.

Subgroup analyses in the study also revealed “no statistically significant heterogeneity” in risk of AFib or MACE by age, sex, or presence of diabetes, Moa P. Lee, PharmD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and her coauthors reported in JAMA Dermatology.

These findings provide additional evidence on cardiovascular risks with ustekinumab versus other treatments.

The findings are consistent with previous observations of a small but nonsignificant increase in cardiovascular disease among patients with psoriatic disease and provide new insight into the risk of AFib with psoriatic treatments with the two therapies, Dr. Lee and her colleagues wrote.

The retrospective study of two U.S. commercial health care claims databases included 60,028 adult patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis who initiated therapy with ustekinumab (n = 9,071) or a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor (n = 50,957), including adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, golimumab, etanercept, or infliximab. The investigators excluded any patient with an AFib diagnosis at baseline and those receiving any antiarrhythmic or anticoagulant treatment.

The incidence of AFib was 5.0 and 4.1 per 1,000 person-years in the ustekinumab and TNF inhibitor groups, respectively, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.08 (95% CI, 0.76-1.54). The incidence of MACE (a composite endpoint of MI, stroke, and coronary revascularization) was 6.2 and 6.1 per 1,000 person-years in the ustekinumab and TNF inhibitor groups, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.10 (95% CI, 0.80-1.52).

In subgroup analyses, the adjusted HR for AFib with ustekinumab versus TNF inhibitor was 1.46 (95% CI, 0.98-2.18) for patients aged 60 years and older and 1.47 (95% CI, 0.93-2.31) in patients with diabetes, the investigators wrote.

The adjusted HR for AFib with ustekinumab versus TNF inhibitors was 1.21 in men (95% CI, 0.87-1.69) and 0.82 in women (95% CI, 0.49-1.39), while for MACE, the HRs were 1.31 in men (95% CI, 0.97-1.76) and 0.91 in women (95% CI, 0.56-1.47).

“Although the risk of these cardiovascular outcomes appeared to be similar across the subpopulations included in our study, further investigations on potentially modifying treatment effects stratified by important risk factors may be warranted,” Dr. Lee and her coauthors wrote.

The study was supported by the division of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Several authors reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies marketing biologics for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

SOURCE: Lee MP et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2019 Mar 27. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.0001.

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