4 years ago

Longer-term Outcomes of Darbepoetin Alfa Versus Epoetin Alfa in Patients With ESRD Initiating Hemodialysis: A Quasi-experimental Cohort Study

Adequately powered studies directly comparing hard clinical outcomes of darbepoetin alfa (DPO) versus epoetin alfa (EPO) in patients undergoing dialysis are lacking. Study Design Observational, registry-based, retrospective cohort study; we mimicked a cluster-randomized trial by comparing mortality and cardiovascular events in US patients initiating hemodialysis therapy in facilities (almost) exclusively using DPO versus EPO. Setting & Participants Nonchain US hemodialysis facilities; each facility switching from EPO to DPO (2003-2010) was matched for location, profit status, and facility type with one EPO facility. Patients subsequently initiating hemodialysis therapy in these facilities were assigned their facility-level exposure. Intervention DPO versus EPO. Outcomes All-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality; composite of cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), and nonfatal stroke. Measurements Unadjusted and adjusted HRs from Cox proportional hazards regression models. Results Of 508 dialysis facilities that switched to DPO, 492 were matched with a similar EPO facility; 19,932 (DPO: 9,465 [47.5%]; EPO: 10,467 [52.5%]) incident hemodialysis patients were followed up for 21,918 person-years during which 5,550 deaths occurred. Almost all baseline characteristics were tightly balanced. The demographics-adjusted mortality HR for DPO (vs EPO) was 1.06 (95% CI, 1.00-1.13) and was materially unchanged after adjustment for all other baseline characteristics (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.99-1.12). Cardiovascular mortality did not differ between groups (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.94-1.16). Nonfatal outcomes were evaluated among 9,455 patients with fee-for-service Medicare: 4,542 (48.0%) in DPO and 4,913 (52.0%) in EPO facilities. During 10,457 and 10,363 person-years, 248 and 372 events were recorded, respectively, for strokes and MIs. We found no differences in adjusted stroke or MI rates or their composite with cardiovascular death (HR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.96-1.25). Limitations Nonrandom treatment assignment, potential residual confounding. Conclusions In incident hemodialysis patients, mortality and cardiovascular event rates did not differ between patients treated at facilities predominantly using DPO versus EPO.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0272638615005326

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