# Poisson Distribution – Poisson VS Logistic Regression

logisticpoisson distribution

I have a cohort of patients with different length of follow-up. So far I´m disregarding the time aspect and just need to model a binary outcome-disease/no disease. I usually do logistic regression in these studies, but another collegue of mine asked if Poisson regression would be just as appropriate. I´m not that into poisson and was left uncertain as to what the benefits and disadvantages of doing poisson in this setting would be compared logistic regression. I read Poisson regression to estimate relative risk for binary outcomes and I am still uncertain as to the merits of poisson regression in this situation.

One solution to this problem is to assume that the number of events (like flare-ups) is proportional to time. If you denote the individual level of exposure (length of follow-up in your case) by $t$, then $\frac{E[y \vert x]}{t}=\exp\{x'\beta\}.$ Here a follow-up that is twice as long would double the expected count, all else equal. This can be algebraically equivalent to a model where $E[y \vert x]=\exp\{x'\beta+\log{t}\},$ which is just the Poisson model with the coefficient on $\log t$ constrained to $1$. You can also test the proportionality assumption by relaxing the constraint and testing the hypothesis that $\beta_{log(t)}=1$.