At the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual conference, held November 10th-15th in San Diego, CA, a team of investigators presented their research regarding cardiovascular risk and its association with two types of medication for spondyloarthritis. Their study suggests that TNF inhibitors may significantly lower the risk of heart-related issues (as compared to non-use of biologics).
People with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) are known to have a higher risk of heart-related issues. The study aimed to understand how certain biologics affect this risk. The team of South Korean scientists focused on two types of medications: tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFis) and interleukin-17 inhibitors (IL-17is).
Researchers examined the health records of 43,502 AS patients in Korea from 2010 onwards, excluding those with a history of heart problems. They tracked these patients until 2021. Cardiovascular events, like heart attacks or strokes, were the key factors analyzed. The study used statistical models to compare the risks of cardiovascular events for individuals on TNFis, individuals on IL-17is, and individuals who did not use biologics at all.
The findings showed that during periods of non-biologic exposure, the rate of cardiovascular events was 18.66 per 10,000 person-years. For periods of exposure to TNF inhibitors, this rate dropped to 8.92 per 10,000 person-years. However, for periods of exposure to IL-17 inhibitors, the rate was 12.87 per 10,000 person-years, with no clear reduction in risk compared to periods without biologics.
In simpler terms, the study suggests that for individuals with AS, using TNF inhibitors is associated with a roughly 30% lower risk of heart-related issues compared to not using biologics. On the other hand, using IL-17 inhibitors did not show a clear link to reduced cardiovascular risk compared to not using biologics or using TNF inhibitors.
This study was shared during the ACR Convergence 2023 Late-Breaking Abstracts session, which features recently published data from abstracts of interest to the general ACR audience.
- Risk of Cardiovascular Events According to Biological Agent Exposure in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis: A Korean Population-based Study – American College of Rheumatology
- The Heart in Spondyloarthritis – Spondylitis.org