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Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors and COVID-19 infection or hospitalization: a cohort study

By Sascha Dublin, Rod L Walker, James S Floyd, Susan M Shortreed, Sharon Fuller, Ladia H Albertson-Junkans, Laura B Harrington, Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman, Beverly B Green, Bruce M Psaty

Posted 07 Jul 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.06.20120386

There are plausible mechanisms by which angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may increase the risk of COVID-19 infection or affect disease severity. To examine the association between these medications and COVID-19 infection or hospitalization, we conducted a retrospective cohort study within a US integrated healthcare system. Among people aged [&ge;]18 years enrolled in the health plan for at least 4 months as of 2/29/2020, current ACEI and ARB use was identified from pharmacy data, and the estimated daily dose was calculated and standardized across medications. COVID-19 infections were identified through 6/14/2020 from laboratory and hospitalization data. We used logistic regression to estimate adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals. Among 322,044 individuals, 720 developed COVID-19 infection. Among people using ACEI/ARBs, 183/56,105 developed COVID-19 (3.3 per 1000 individuals) compared with 537/265,939 without ACEI/ARB use (2.0 per 1000), yielding an adjusted OR of 0.94 (95% CI 0.75-1.16). For use of < 1 defined daily dose vs. nonuse, the adjusted OR for infection was 0.89 (95% CI 0.62-1.26); for 1 to < 2 defined daily doses, 0.97 (95% CI 0.71-1.31); and for [&ge;]2 defined daily doses, 0.94 (95% CI 0.72-1.23). The OR was similar for ACEIs and ARBs and in subgroups by age and sex. 29% of people with COVID-19 infection were hospitalized; the adjusted OR for hospitalization in relation to ACEI/ARB use was 0.92 (95% CI 0.54-1.57), and there was no association with dose. These findings support current recommendations that individuals on these medications continue their use.

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