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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with biologic agents lowers the risk of incident chronic kidney disease.

  • Author(s): Sumida, Keiichi
  • Molnar, Miklos Z
  • Potukuchi, Praveen K
  • Hassan, Fatima
  • Thomas, Fridtjof
  • Yamagata, Kunihiro
  • Kalantar-Zadeh, Kamyar
  • Kovesdy, Csaba P
  • et al.

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with reduced kidney function, possibly due to chronic inflammation or the use of nephrotoxic therapies. However, little is known about the effects of using the newer novel non-nephrotoxic biologic agents on the risk of incident chronic kidney disease (CKD). To study this we used a cohort of 20,757 United States veterans diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 60 mL/min/1.73m2 or more, recruited between October 2004 and September 2006, and followed through 2013. The associations of biologic use with incident CKD (eGFR under 60 with a decrease of at least 25% from baseline, and eGFR under 45 mL/min/1.73m2) and change in eGFR (<-3, -3 to <0 [reference], and ≥0 mL/min/1.73m2/year) were examined in propensity-matched patients based on their likelihood to initiate biologic treatment, using Cox models and multinomial logistic regression models, respectively. Among 20,757 patients, 4,617 started biologic therapy. In the propensity-matched cohort, patients treated (versus not treated) with biologic agents had a lower risk of incident CKD (hazard ratios 0.95, 95% confidence interval [0.82-1.10] and 0.71 [0.53-0.94] for decrease in eGFR under 60 and under 45 mL/min/1.73m2, respectively) and progressive eGFR decline (multinomial odds ratios [95% CI] for eGFR slopes <-3 and ≥0 [versus -3 to <0] mL/min/1.73m2/year, 0.67 [0.58-0.79] and 0.76 [0.69-0.83], respectively). A significant deceleration of eGFR decline was also observed after biologic administration in patients treated with biologics (-1.0 versus -0.4 [mL/min/1.73m2/year] before and after biologic use). Thus, biologic agent administration was independently associated with lower risk of incident CKD and progressive eGFR decline.

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