HealthDay News — For patients with sickle cell disease (SCD), systemic corticosteroid exposure is associated with an increased risk for hospitalization for vaso-occlusive episodes (VOEs), according to a study published online April 26 in Blood.

Ondine Walter, from Toulouse University Hospital in France, and colleagues examined the risk for hospitalization for VOE associated with systemic corticosteroid exposure in patients with SCD. A case-case-time control design was used in a nationwide population-based cohort built in the French national health insurance database between 2010 and 2018; the design induces self-adjustment for time-invariant confounders, including genotype. All patients with SCD with at least one hospitalization for VOE were included; the main analysis included 5151 patients.

The researchers observed a significant association between corticosteroid exposure and the occurrence of hospitalizations for VOEs (adjusted odds ratio, 3.8). The adjusted odds ratios were 2.6 and 4.0 in patients exposed to hydroxyurea and unexposed patients, respectively. In children and adults, the results were consistent.

“This nationwide population-based study showed an increased risk of hospitalization for VOE after out-of-hospital exposure to systemic corticosteroids,” the authors write. “The strength of the association was lower in men, in children, and in patients treated with hydroxyurea.”

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)