PITTSBURGH, July 10 -- The risk of developing diabetes decreased 38% among rheumatoid arthritis patients taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaqueril), according to a preliminary study.
This reduced risk at a mean of 3.1 years, compared with similar patients not taking the drug, was still greater for patients who took the drug for more than four years. Mary Chester M. Wasko, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues reported in the July 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
These patients had a 77% reduced risk compared with patients who had never taken the drug, the investigators reported.
The dose-related findings came from a prospective, multicenter observational study of 4,905 adults with rheumatoid arthritis. According to self-reports, 1,808 had taken hydroxychloroquine and 3,097 had never taken the drug.