Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Hydroxychloroquine for Arthritis Also Reduces Risk of Diabetes

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Hydroxychloroquine for Arthritis Also Reduces Risk of Diabetes

Article excerpt

Patients who take hydroxychloroquine for their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms also show a dose-dependent reduction in their risk for developing diabetes, results of a large study suggest.

Diabetes risk decreased by as much as 77% in patients who took the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine for more than 4 years, "a finding that is comparable or superior to that of other drugs studied in clinical trials: rosiglitazone, combination hormone therapy, estrogen [only], metformin, acarbose, and ramipril," the study researchers reported.

This is the first evidence ever reported suggesting that hydroxychloroquine reduces the risk of diabetes in RA patients, wrote Dr. Mary Chester M. Wasko of the University of Pittsburgh and her associates.

Antimalarials are known to cause hypoglycemia and are thought to improve insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity. They "have been explored as an adjunct to insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents for poorly controlled type 2 diabetes," Dr. Wasko and her associates said.

The investigators studied the possible link between use of hydroxychloroquine and diabetes risk in an established RA cohort with more than 20 years of follow-up. The 4,905 subjects in this longitudinal observational study were treated at seven RA practice sites across North America from 1976 through 2004. A total of 1,808 reported use of hydroxychloroquine at some time during the study, most of them for an average of 3 years.

Diabetes developed in 70% of the subjects who had never taken the antimalarial drug, compared with only 48% of those who had ever taken it. …

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