Renin-angiotensin system blockers and susceptibility to COVID-19: a multinational open science cohort study.
Morales DR., Conover MM., You SC., Pratt N., Kostka K., Duarte Salles T., Fernandez Bertolin S., Aragon M., DuVall SL., Lynch K., Falconer T., van Bochove K., Sung C., Matheny ME., Lambert CG., Nyberg F., AlShammari TM., Williams AE., Park RW., Weaver J., Sena AG., Schuemie MJ., Rijnbeek PR., Williams RD., Lane JCE., Prats Uribe A., Zhang L., Areia C., Krumholz H., Prieto Alhambra D., Ryan PB., Hripcsak G., Suchard MA.
INTRODUCTION: Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) could influence infection risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Observational studies to date lack pre-specification, transparency, rigorous ascertainment adjustment and international generalizability, with contradictory results. METHODS: Using electronic health records from Spain (SIDIAP) and the United States (Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Department of Veterans Affairs), we conducted a systematic cohort study with prevalent ACE, ARB, calcium channel blocker (CCB) and thiazide diuretic (THZ) use to determine relative risk of COVID-19 diagnosis and related hospitalization outcomes. The study addressed confounding through large-scale propensity score adjustment and negative control experiments. RESULTS: Following over 1.1 million antihypertensive users identified between November 2019 and January 2020, we observed no significant difference in relative COVID-19 diagnosis risk comparing ACE/ARB vs CCB/THZ monotherapy (hazard ratio: 0.98; 95% CI 0.84 - 1.14), nor any difference for mono/combination use (1.01; 0.90 - 1.15). ACE alone and ARB alone similarly showed no relative risk difference when compared to CCB/THZ monotherapy or mono/combination use. Directly comparing ACE vs. ARB demonstrated a moderately lower risk with ACE, non-significant for monotherapy (0.85; 0.69 - 1.05) and marginally significant for mono/combination users (0.88; 0.79 - 0.99). We observed, however, no significant difference between drug- classes for COVID-19 hospitalization or pneumonia risk across all comparisons. CONCLUSION: There is no clinically significant increased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis or hospitalization with ACE or ARB use. Users should not discontinue or change their treatment to avoid COVID-19.