Hyperlipidemia Screening Rates Low Among Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Data show that primary lipid screening rates were suboptimal in patients with RA.
Data show that primary lipid screening rates were suboptimal in patients with RA.

Primary lipid screening rates are suboptimal among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to results published in Arthritis Care & Research.

The results indicated that lipid screening rates among patients with RA were lower compared with patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) but were similar to rates among the general population.

The study included claims data from private and public health plans in the United States from 2006 to 2010. Participants were eligible for inclusion if they had continuous medical and pharmacy coverage for ≥12 months and >2 physician diagnoses and relevant medications to be included in the following categories: RA, DM, RA and DM, or neither condition.

The researchers calculated the proportion of participants who had lipid profiles ordered during the 2 years following baseline. They used time-varying Cox proportional hazard models to determine the probability of hyperlipidemia screening in participants with RA according to provider specialty.

Of 330,695 eligible participants, 12,182 had RA, 62,834 had DM, 1082 had both conditions, and 167,811 had neither condition.

The researchers found that 37% of participants with RA were screened for hyperlipidemia compared with 60% of those with DM, 55% of those with RA and DM, and 41% of those with neither condition.

Participants with RA who visited a rheumatologist and a non-rheumatology clinician during follow-up had a 55% (95% CI, 1.36-1.78) higher screening probability compared with those who only visited a rheumatologist.

“Reducing modifiable [cardiovascular disease] risk factors should be a priority in patients with RA,” the researchers wrote. 

“Measures to achieve this goal must be implemented and may include defining specific roles for rheumatologists, non-rheumatology practitioners, and patients to determine who should be responsible for hyperlipidemia screening and treatment for patients with RA.


Reference

Navarro-Millán I, Yang S, Chen L, et al. Screening of hyperlipidemia among patients with rheumatoid arthritis in the United States [published online November 10, 2018]. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). doi:10.1002/acr.23810

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