ACEI or ARB and COVID-19 Severity and Mortality in US Veterans

Overview

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for COVID-19, enters type II pneumocytes using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). It is unclear whether ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) increase, decrease, or have no significant effect on ACE2 expression or activity. Therefore, ACEI and ARB may be harmful, beneficial, or have no impact on Coronavirus Disease 2019 severity and mortality. The Specific Aims of this observational study are: (1) Among SARS-CoV-2-positive outpatients, compare all-cause hospitalization and mortality rates between: 1.1 Current users of a range of doses of ACEI/ARB- vs. non- ACEI/ARB-based regimens, and 1.2 Current users of a range of doses of ACEI- vs. ARB-based regimens, and (2) Among those hospitalized for COVID-19, compare all-cause mortality between: 2.1 Current users of a range of doses of ACEI/ARB- vs. non- ACEI/ARB-based regimens, and 2.2 Current users of a range of doses of ACEI- vs. ARB-based regimens.

Full Title of Study: “Association Between Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitor or Angiotensin Receptor Blocker Use and COVID-19 Severity and Mortality Among US Veterans”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Observational
  • Study Design
    • Time Perspective: Retrospective
  • Study Primary Completion Date: October 21, 2020

Detailed Description

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has killed >129,000 Americans as of June 30, 2020. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for COVID-19, enters type II pneumocytes using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may increase ACE2 expression. Theoretically, if ACEI/ARB use increases ACE2 expression in the lungs, ACEI/ARBs could promote SARS-CoV-2 entry into type II pneumocytes and worsen COVID-19 infection. In contrast, other evidence suggests that ACEI/ARBs may mitigate virus-induced inflammatory responses in the lungs by upregulating ACE2-mediated generation of the vasodilator and anti-inflammatory protein angiotensin-(1-7), thereby preventing tissue damage. Few data exist on the direction or magnitude of the association between ACEI/ARB use and COVID-19 severity, and whether these associations differ between ACEIs and ARBs. Because ACEI/ARBs are among the most commonly used prescription medications, it is critical to determine if ACEI/ARB users have a differential risk of more severe COVID-19 infection compared to non-users. The objective of this study is to reduce morbidity and mortality of the COVID-19 pandemic by generating timely evidence on the direction and magnitude of the association between ACEI/ARB use and COVID-19 severity and mortality.

Interventions

  • Drug: ACEI/ARB
    • Veterans will be categorized as exposed to ACEI/ARB if they have one or more pharmacy fills for an oral ACEI or an ARB in the 90 days (± 14 days) prior to each Veteran’s index date. Sacubitril/valsartan (Brand name: Entresto®) will be excluded from ARB exposures.
  • Drug: Non-ACEI/ARB
    • Veterans will be categorized as exposed to a non-ACEI/ARB if they have one or more pharmacy fills for an oral non-ACEI or ARB medication in the 90 days (± 14 days) prior to each Veteran’s index date and NO fills for an ACEI/ARB medication in the 90 days (± 14 days) prior to each Veteran’s index date. Specific drug classes include: aldosterone receptor antagonist, beta-blocker, calcium channel blocker, centrally-acting drug, direct arterial vasodilator, direct renin inhibitor, thiazide diuretic, loop diuretic, and potassium sparing diuretic.
  • Drug: ACEI
    • Veterans will be categorized as exposed to an ACEI if they have one or more pharmacy fills for an oral ACEI in the 90 days (± 14 days) prior to each Veteran’s index date and NO fills for an oral ARB in the 90 days (± 14 days) prior to each Veteran’s index date.
  • Drug: ARB
    • Veterans will be categorized as exposed to an ARB if they have one or more pharmacy fills for an oral ACEI in the 90 days (± 14 days) prior to each Veteran’s index date and NO fills for an oral ACEI in the 90 days (± 14 days) prior to each Veteran’s index date. Sacubitril/valsartan (Brand name: Entresto®) will be excluded from ARB exposures.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • 1.1 Outpatient SARS-CoV-2 Positive, ACEI/ARB vs non-ACEI/ARB
    • Among Veterans with treated hypertension and without compelling indications who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, compare all-cause hospitalization and all-cause mortality rates between current users of a range of doses of ACEI/ARB- vs. non-ACEI/ARB-based regimens.
  • 1.2 Outpatient SARS-CoV-2 Positive, ACEI vs. ARB
    • Among Veterans with treated hypertension who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, compare all-cause hospitalization and all-cause mortality rates between current users of a range of doses of ACEI- vs. ARB-based regimens.
  • 2.1 COVID-19 Hospitalized, ACEI/ARB vs non-ACEI/ARB
    • Among Veterans with treated hypertension and without compelling indications who are hospitalized for COVID-19, compare all-cause mortality rates between current users of a range of doses of ACEI/ARB- vs. non-ACEI/ARB-based regimens.
  • 2.2 COVID-19 Hospitalized, ACEI vs. ARB
    • Among Veterans with treated hypertension who are hospitalized for COVID-19, compare all-cause mortality rates between current users of a range of doses of ACEI- vs. ARB-based regimens.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • All-Cause-Hospitalization or All-Cause Mortality
    • Time Frame: Through study completion (approximately July 31, 2020).
    • For outpatient Veterans with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (Aims 1.1 and 1.2), the primary outcome is a composite of time to all-cause hospitalization or all-cause mortality.
  • All-Cause Mortality
    • Time Frame: Through study completion (approximately July 31, 2020).
    • For Veterans hospitalized with COVID-19 (Aims 2.1 and 2.2), the primary outcome is time to all-cause mortality.

Secondary Measures

  • ICU admission
    • Time Frame: Through study completion (approximately July 31, 2020).
    • For aims 1 and 2, a secondary outcome will be time to intensive care unit (ICU) admission.
  • Duration of hospitalization
    • Time Frame: Through study completion (approximately July 31, 2020).
    • For aims 1 and 2, a secondary outcome will be duration of hospitalization.
  • Mechanical ventilation
    • Time Frame: Through study completion (approximately July 31, 2020).
    • For aim 2, a secondary outcome will be time to mechanical ventilation.
  • Dialysis
    • Time Frame: Through study completion (approximately July 31, 2020).
    • For aim 2, a secondary outcome will be time to in-hospital dialysis.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Positive SARS-CoV-2 test in the outpatient setting (Aim 1) or hospitalized for COVID-19 (Aim 2) – Meet continuous enrollment criteria (≥1 inpatient or any outpatient encounter in each of the two, six-month periods during the 365 days prior to the index date) – Do not have data inconsistencies (test patients, not Veterans, multiple death dates in data, or not alive on index date) – Diagnosed with hypertension at any point prior to the index date – Had at least one prescription dispensed for an antihypertensive medication in the 90 days prior to the index date Exclusion Criteria:

  • Aim 1.1 and 2.1 (ACEI/ARB vs. non-ACEI/ARB comparison): diagnosed with a compelling indication for ACEI/ARB at any point prior to the index date (i.e., diabetes, stroke, chronic kidney disease, heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, or coronary heart disease) – Aim 1.2 and 2.2 (ACE vs. ARB comparison): prescription fills for both an ACEI and an ARB in the 90 days prior to the index date; no prescription fill for an ACEI or an ARB in the 90 days prior to the index date

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Utah
  • Collaborator
    • VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Adam Bress, Associate Professor – University of Utah
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Adam P Bress, PharmD, MS, Principal Investigator, University of Utah

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