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Routine Use of Immunosuppressants is Associated with Mortality in Hospitalised Patients with Covid-19

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Phyo Myint, Ben Carter, Fenella Barlow-Pay, Roxanna Short, Alice Einarsson, Eilidh Bruce, Kathryn McCarthy, Alessia Verduri, Jemima T. Collins, James Hesford, Frances Rickard, Emma Mitchell, Mark Holloway, Aine McGovern, Arturo Vilches-Moraga, Philip Braude, Lyndsay Pearce, Michael J Stechman, Angeline Price, Terence Quinn & 3 more Enrico Clini, Susan J Moug, Jonathan Hewitt

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Drug Safety
Accepted/In press15 Dec 2020


  • Myint, Immuno_Ms_authors accepted

    Myint_Immuno_Ms_authors_accepted.docx, 101 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:15 Dec 2020

King's Authors


Background: Whilst there is literature on impact of the SARS viruses in the severely immunosuppressed, less is known about the link between routine immunosuppressant use and outcome in COVID-19. Consequently, guidelines on their use vary depending on specific patient populations.

Methods: The study population was drawn from the COPE Study (COVID-19 in Older People), a multicentre observational cohort study, across the UK and Italy. Data were collected between 27th February and 28th April 2020 by trained data-collectors and included all unselected consecutive admissions with Covid-19. Load (name/number of medications) and dosage of immunosuppressant were collected along with other covariate data. Primary outcome was time-to-mortality from the date of admission (or) date of diagnosis, if diagnosis was five or more days after admission. Secondary outcomes were Day-14 mortality and time-to-discharge. Data were analysed with mixed-effects, Cox proportional hazards and Logistic regression models using non-users of immunosuppressants as the reference group.

Results: 1184 patients were eligible for inclusion. The median (IQR) age was 74(62-83), 676(57%) were male, and 299(25.3%) died in hospital (total person follow-up 15,540 days). Most patients exhibited at least one comorbidity, and 113(~10%) were on immunosuppressants. Any immunosuppressant use was associated with increased mortality: aHR 1.87,95%CI:1.30,2.69 (time to mortality) and aOR1.71,95%CI:1.01-2.88 (14-day mortality). There also appeared to be a dose-response relationship.

Conclusion: Despite possible indication bias, until further evidence emerges we recommend adhering to public health measures, a low threshold to seek medical advice and close monitoring of symptoms in those who take immunosuppressants routinely regardless of their indication.

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