HealthDay News — Patients with atopic disease have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study published online in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease.

Matthew C. Baker, MD, from Stanford University in California, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study using claims data and electronic health record data to examine the incidence of OA in patients with atopic disease compared with matched, nonexposed patients. A total of 117,346 exposed patients with asthma or atopic dermatitis and 1,247,196 nonexposed patients were included; after propensity score matching, 109,899 were included in each group.

The researchers found that compared with nonexposed patients, patients with asthma or atopic dermatitis had higher OA incidence (26.9 vs 19.1 per 1000 person-years; adjusted odds ratio, 1.58). The effect was more pronounced for patients with both asthma and atopic dermatitis vs nonexposed patients (adjusted odds ratio, 2.15) and for those with asthma vs those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (adjusted odds ratio, 1.83). The results were replicated in an independent dataset (Stanford Research Repository [STARR]), which also included body mass index data. In STARR, the adjusted odds ratio for developing OA in patients with asthma or atopic dermatitis was 1.42 compared with nonexposed patients.

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“The association between atopic disease and OA is supported by recent observations that mast cells and type II cytokines may play important roles in the pathogenesis of OA broadly, not just in patients with atopic disease,” the authors write. “Our findings provide further support for the concept that allergic pathways may contribute to the development of OA.”

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