Glucocorticoids and relapse and infection rates in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody disease

Julie Anne G. McGregor, Susan L. Hogan, Yichun Hu, Caroline E. Jennette, Ronald J. Falk, Patrick H. Nachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Background and objectives The optimal course of glucocorticoid therapy in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) disease is unknown. This cohort study evaluates effects of glucocorticoid therapy duration on patient outcomes and adverse events. Design, setting, participants, & measurements This study assessed 147 patients diagnosed between January 1, 2000 and January 1, 2009 who were treated with glucocorticoids and cyclophosphamide. Patients with end stage kidney disease at presentation, treatment resistance, or who had died within 6 months were excluded. Patients were divided into three groups: 0,5, or.>5 mg prednisonedaily at 6months after therapy initiation. The latter two groups were combined for assessment of adverse events. Wilcoxon rank sum, Kruskal-Wallis, or Fisher's exact tests were used for between-group comparisons. Time to relapse was evaluated by the Kaplan-Meier method with log-rank test for comparison. Results There were no differences between groups in ANCA specificity, serum creatinine, frequency of risk factors for relapse, or length of therapy with immunosuppressants. Length of glucocorticoid therapy had no impact on time to relapse (hazard ratio, 0.69 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.2322.02]; 1.01, [95% CI, 0.5721.81] for the 5-mg and >5-mg groups, respectively), relapse-free survival, end stage kidney disease, or death. Patients receiving glucocorticoids beyond 6 months had significantly higher incidence of infections (0.64 infections per person-year versus 0.39, P<0.0001) and a marginally significant higher frequency of new-onset diabetes mellitus (odds ratio, 2.03; 95% CI, 0.9424.38). Conclusions Glucocorticoid therapy beyond 6 months is associated with a significantly greater risk of infections but not a significantly decreased risk of relapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


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