Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or psoriasis are at an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events when compared with the general population, according to findings from a large cohort study.
All three diseases had statistically similar risks for major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) after adjustment for age, gender, and traditional CV risk factors, Dr. Alexis Ogdie-Beatty of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and her colleagues reported (Ann. Rheum. Dis. 2014 Oct. 30 [doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-205675]).
The investigators noted that most studies of CV risk in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients have been cross-sectional and that three previous population-based cohort studies have evaluated CV risk in psoriasis patients, with PsA patients as a subgroup; however, these three psoriasis studies did not include incident MACE and matched internal control patients with adjustments for traditional CV risk factors.
The investigators used data from the Health Improvement Network, a U.K. primary care medical record database, and compared the number of MACE (myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, and CV death) that occurred during a mean 5 years of follow-up in 41,752 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 8,706 with PsA, 138,424 with psoriasis, and 81,573 matched controls. There was significant interaction between disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) use and disease group (P < .001 for MACE and two components, CV death and cerebrovascular accident; and P = .01 for MI).
The risk of MACE was higher in patients with PsA not prescribed a DMARD (hazard ratio, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.49). This risk was elevated in RA patients both with DMARD prescriptions (HR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.46-1.70) and without (HR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.28-1.50). Patients with severe psoriasis who were prescribed a DMARD had an HR of 1.42 (95% CI, 1.17-1.73), whereas psoriasis patients not prescribed a DMARD had an HR of 1.08 (95% CI, 1.02-1.15).
The results highlight a need for improved screening and management of traditional CV risk factors in patients with inflammatory diseases, the researchers said.
Study limitations included not being able to measure disease severity or the use of over-the-counter NSAIDs, as well as having few records on biologic medications and possibly missing DMARD prescriptions.
The researchers were supported by various grants from the Rheumatology Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Icelandic Research Fund. Several authors reported financial relationships with companies that market drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases.