16:59 PM

Even Low-Dose Glucocorticoids Up Infection Risk in RA

Medscape reports on study findings published in Annals of Internal Medicine which found low-dose glucocorticoids (GCs) are associated with a small but significant increased risk for infection among hospitalized patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

HSS rheumatologists Bella Mehta, MBBS, MS and Dana E. Orange, MD, MS, published an accompanying editorial on the findings, writing the study is well-designed and effectively articulated. Drs. Mehta and Orange said the rates of hospitalized infection in patients receiving prednisone at a dose of <5 mg/d were similar to those among patients receiving biologics. "This finding is highly relevant to the clinical community who have been treating some patients with low-dose [GCs] instead of advancing nonbiologic DMARDs [Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs] to biologic or targeted synthetic DMARDs, thinking that low-dose GCs may not increase the risk for infection." 

Additionally, Drs. Mehta and Orange caution against extrapolating the study findings to other conditions for which low-dose GCs are prescribed. "It is well recognized that patients with RA are at increased risk for serious infections due to disease-associated immune dysregulation, which may not be the case in other conditions," they wrote.

Read the full article at Medscape.com.

Additional coverage: Physiciansweekly.com.