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Multimorbidity, Polypharmacy, and COVID-19 infection within the UK Biobank cohort.

By Ross McQueenie, Hamish Foster, Bhautesh D Jani, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, Naveed Sattar, Jill Pell, Frederick K Ho, Claire L Niedzwiedz, Claire E Hastie, Jana Anderson, Patrick B Mark, Michael Sullivan, Catherine A ODonnell, Frances S Mair, Barbara I Nicholl

Posted 12 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.10.20127563

BACKGROUND: It is now well recognised that the risk of severe COVID-19 increases with some long-term conditions (LTCs). However, prior research primarily focuses on individual LTCs and there is a lack of data on the influence of multimorbidity ([≥]2 LTCs) on the risk of COVID-19. Given the high prevalence of multimorbidity, more detailed understanding of the associations with multimorbidity and COVID-19 would improve risk stratification and help protect those most vulnerable to severe COVID-19. Here we examine the relationships between multimorbidity, polypharmacy (a proxy of multimorbidity), and COVID-19; and how these differ by sociodemographic, lifestyle, and physiological prognostic factors. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We studied data from UK Biobank (428,199 participants; aged 37-73; recruited 2006-2010) on self-reported LTCs, medications, sociodemographic, lifestyle, and physiological measures which were linked to COVID-19 test data. Poisson regression models examined risk of COVID-19 by multimorbidity/polypharmacy and effect modification by COVID-19 prognostic factors (age/sex/ethnicity/socioeconomic status/smoking/physical activity/BMI/systolic blood pressure/renal function). 4,498 (1.05%) participants were tested; 1,324 (0.31%) tested positive for COVID-19. Compared with no LTCs, relative risk (RR) of COVID-19 in those with 1 LTC was no higher (RR 1.12 (CI 0.96-1.30)), whereas those with [≥]2 LTCs had 48% higher risk; RR 1.48 (1.28-1.71). Compared with no cardiometabolic LTCs, having 1 and [≥]2 cardiometabolic LTCs had a higher risk of COVID-19; RR 1.28 (1.12-1.46) and 1.77 (1.46-2.15), respectively. Polypharmacy was associated with a dose response increased risk of COVID-19. All prognostic factors were associated with a higher risk of COVID-19 infection in multimorbidity; being non-white, most socioeconomically deprived, BMI [≥]40 kg/m2, and reduced renal function were associated with the highest risk of COVID-19 infection: RR 2.81 (2.09-3.78); 2.79 (2.00-3.90); 2.66 (1.88-3.76); 2.13 (1.46-3.12), respectively. No multiplicative interaction between multimorbidity and prognostic factors was identified. Important limitations include the low proportion of UK Biobank participants with COVID-19 test data (1.05%) and UK Biobank participants being more affluent, healthier and less ethnically diverse than the general population. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing multimorbidity, especially cardiometabolic multimorbidity, and polypharmacy are associated with a higher risk of developing COVID-19. Those with multimorbidity and additional factors, such as non-white ethnicity, are at heightened risk of COVID-19.

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