Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at an increased risk of influenza compared with those without IBD, according to the results of a recent study.
While it is known that diseases of immune dysregulation are associated with a higher risk of viral infection, there is little data on how IBD may impact the risk of influenza infection. There is also little information on how the use of immunosuppressive medications could affect this risk.
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For this reason, researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study using the MarketScan Database (January 2008 to December 2011) to estimate the incidence of influenza and risk of related complications in patients with IBD and used a nested case-control study design to evaluate the independent effects of IBD medications on this risk.
Of the 140,480 participants, 2963 with IBD and 1941 non-IBD controls had influenza. The researchers found that patients with IBD had an increased risk of influenza compared with those without (incidence rate ratio 1.58) and a higher rate of influenza-related hospitalizations (162/2994 [5.4%] vs 36/1941 [1.85%]).
Further, use of systemic corticosteroids were found to be independently associated with influenza (odds ratio 1.22).
“Inflammatory bowel disease patients had an increased risk of influenza compared with those without IBD and were more likely to require hospitalization. Steroids were the only medication class independently associated with flu risk.”
Tinsley A, Navabi S, Williams ED, et al. Increased risk of influenza and influenza-related complications among 140,480 patients with inflammatory bowel disease [published online July 18, 2018]. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. https://doi.org/10.1093/ibd/izy243.