JAMA Cardiol. 2023 Aug 16. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2023.2418. Online ahead of print.
IMPORTANCE: Fluoroquinolone use has been associated with increased hospitalization with aortic aneurysm or dissection in noninterventional studies, but the reason for this observed association is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between fluoroquinolone use and aortic aneurysm or dissection using multiple study designs and multiple databases to increase the robustness of findings.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cohort and case-crossover studies were conducted separately in 2 databases of UK primary care records. Clinical Practice Research Datalink Aurum and GOLD primary care records were linked to hospital admissions data. Adults with a systemic fluoroquinolone or cephalosporin prescription between April 1997 and December 2019 were included in the cohort study. Adults hospitalized with aortic aneurysm or dissection within the eligibility period were included in the case-crossover study. Individuals meeting inclusion criteria in the case-crossover study were matched 1:3 to control individuals on age, sex, index date, and clinical practice to adjust for calendar trends in prescribing. Data were analyzed from January to July 2022.
EXPOSURES: Systemic fluoroquinolone or comparator antibiotic.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated in the cohort study for the association between prescription of fluoroquinolones and hospitalization with aortic aneurysm or dissection using stabilized inverse probability of treatment-weighted Cox regression. Odds ratios (OR) were estimated in the case-crossover study for the association between systemic fluoroquinolone use and hospitalization with aortic aneurysm or dissection using a conditional logistic regression model. Estimates were pooled across databases using fixed-effects meta-analysis.
RESULTS: In the cohort study, we identified 3 134 121 adults in Aurum (mean [SD] age, 52.5 [20.3] years; 1 969 257 [62.8%] female) and 452 086 in GOLD (mean [SD] age, 53.9 [20.2] years; 286 502 [63.4%] female) who were prescribed fluoroquinolones or cephalosporins. In crude analyses, fluoroquinolone relative to cephalosporin use was associated with increased hospitalization with aortic aneurysm or dissection (pooled HR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.13-1.44; P < .001) but after adjustment for potential confounders, this association disappeared (pooled adjusted HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.91-1.17; P = .65). In the case-crossover study, we identified 84 841 individuals hospitalized with aortic aneurysm or dissection in Aurum (mean [SD] age, 75.5 [10.9]; 23 551 [27.8%] female) and 10 357 in GOLD (mean [SD] age, 75.6 [10.5]; 2809 [27.1%] female). Relative to nonuse, fluoroquinolone use was associated with an increase in hospitalization with aortic aneurysm or dissection, but no association was found relative to other antibiotics (vs cephalosporin pooled OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.87-1.27; vs trimethoprim, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.75-1.06; vs co-amoxiclav, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.82-1.18).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The results in this study suggest that estimates of association of fluoroquinolones with aortic aneurysm or dissection may be affected by confounding. When such confounding is accounted for, no association was evident, providing reassurance on the safety of fluoroquinolones with respect to aortic aneurysm or dissection.