OpenSAFELY: Do adults prescribed Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have an increased risk of death from COVID-19?
Angel YS Wong,
Caroline E Morton,
Alex J Walker,
Christopher T Rentsch,
Elizabeth J Williamson,
Sebastian CJ Bacon,
William J Hulme,
Helen J Curtis,
David H Evans,
Helen I McDonald,
Stephen JW Evans,
Ian J Douglas,
Posted 14 Aug 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.12.20171405
Posted 14 Aug 2020
Importance: There has been speculation that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may negatively affect coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes, yet clinical evidence is limited. Objective: To assess the association between NSAID use and deaths from COVID-19 using OpenSAFELY, a secure analytical platform. Design: Two cohort studies (1st March-14th June 2020). Setting: Working on behalf of NHS England, we used routine clinical data from >17 million patients in England linked to death data from the Office for National Statistics. Participants: Study 1: General population (people with an NSAID prescription in the last three years). Study 2: people with rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis. Exposures: Current NSAID prescription within the 4 months before 1st March 2020. Main Outcome and Measure: We used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for COVID-19 related death in people currently prescribed NSAIDs, compared with those not currently prescribed NSAIDs, adjusting for age, sex, comorbidities and other medications. Results: In Study 1, we included 535,519 current NSAID users and 1,924,095 non-users in the general population. The crude HR for current use was 1.25 (95% CI, 1.07-1.46), versus non-use. We observed no evidence of difference in risk of COVID-19 related death associated with current use (HR, 0.95, 95% CI, 0.80-1.13) in the fully adjusted model. In Study 2, we included 1,711,052 people with rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis, of whom 175,631 (10%) were current NSAID users. The crude HR for current use was 0.43 (95% CI, 0.36-0.52), versus non-use. In the fully adjusted model, we observed a lower risk of COVID-19 related death (HR, 0.78, 95% CI, 0.65-0.94) associated with current use of NSAID versus non-use. Conclusion and Relevance: We found no evidence of a harmful effect of NSAIDs on COVID-19 related deaths. Risks from COVID-19 do not need to influence decisions about therapeutic use of NSAIDs.
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