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The risk of mycobacterial infections associated with inhaled corticosteroid use

Brode SK, Campitelli MA, Kwong JC, Lu H, Marchand-Austin A, Gershon AS, Jamieson FB, Marras TK. Eur Respir J. 2017; 50(3):1700037. Epub 2017 Sep 21.


Inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) use is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia. This study was performed to determine if ICS use is associated with an increased risk of nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease (NTM-PD) or tuberculosis (TB).

We conducted a population-based nested case–control study using linked laboratory and health administrative databases in Ontario, Canada, including adults aged ≥66 years with treated obstructive lung disease (i.e. asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma–COPD overlap syndrome) between 2001 and 2013. We estimated odds ratios comparing ICS use with nonuse among NTM-PD and TB cases and controls using conditional logistic regression.

Among 417 494 older adults with treated obstructive lung disease, we identified 2966 cases of NTM-PD and 327 cases of TB. Current ICS use was associated with NTM-PD compared with nonuse (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.86, 95% CI 1.60–2.15) and was statistically significant for fluticasone (aOR 2.09, 95% CI 1.80–2.43), but not for budesonide (aOR 1.19, 95% CI 0.97–1.45). There was a strong dose–response relationship between incident NTM-PD and cumulative ICS dose over 1 year. There was no significant association between current ICS use and TB (aOR 1.43, 95% CI 0.95–2.16).

This study suggests that ICS use is associated with an increased risk of NTM-PD, but not TB.

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