Study: Glucocorticoids Raise Infection Risk for Joint Replacement Patients With RA

The results of a new study show that glucocorticoid use significantly increased the risk for infection for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) undergoing joint replacement surgery.

The retrospective cohort study, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine, examined claims data on nearly 11,000 surgeries — specifically primary or revision hip or knee joint replacement surgery in adults with RA — performed over a nearly 10-year period.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital found that while the risks for hospitalized infection, prosthetic joint infection and readmission following arthroplasty were similar across biologics, glucocorticoid use — particularly when dosages exceeded 10 mg/d — nearly doubled risk for adverse outcomes.

As a news release on the study noted, "According to the researchers, these findings suggest that limiting glucocorticoid use should be a focus of perioperative management."