Validation of new medication use algorithms as proxies for worsening disease activity in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

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PURPOSE: To facilitate claims-based research on populations with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), we sought to validate an algorithm of new medication use as a proxy for worsening JIA disease activity.

METHODS: Using electronic health record data from three pediatric centers, we defined new JIA medication use as (re)initiation of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or glucocorticoids (oral or intra-articular). Data were collected from 201 randomly selected subjects with (101) or without (100) new medication use. We assessed the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) based on a reference standard of documented worsening of JIA disease activity. The algorithm was refined to optimize test characteristics.

RESULTS: Overall, the medication-based algorithm had suboptimal performance in representing worsening JIA disease activity (PPV 69.3%, NPV 77.1%). However, algorithm performance improved for definitions specifying longer times after JIA diagnosis (≥1-year post-diagnosis: PPV 82.9%, NPV 80.0%) or after initiation of prior JIA treatment (≥1-year post-treatment: PPV 89.7%, NPV 80.0%).

CONCLUSION: An algorithm for new JIA medication use appears to be a reasonable proxy for worsening JIA disease activity, particularly when specifying new use ≥1 year since initiating a prior JIA medication. This algorithm will be valuable for conducting research on JIA populations within administrative claims databases.

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Pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety





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