An Arthritis Research Canada study has revealed that patients with lupus who take their medications as prescribed have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to lupus patients who do not. There is no cure for the chronic autoimmune disease that affects several parts of the body, with symptoms changing often and varying from person to person. Medications for lupus primarily focus on easing a patient’s symptoms and reducing inflammation. Hydroxychloroquine, a medicine used to treat malaria and for patients dealing with lupus flares, also has the ability to potentially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Using BC health data that include information on prescriptions, health care visits, and hospitalizations, Arthritis Research Canada research scientist Dr Mary De Vera and her team studied lupus patients over 4 years. They found that compared to those who did not take their medications as prescribed, namely hydroxychloroquine, those who did had a 39% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. From prior research, researchers know that an average of 43% to 75% of lupus patients do not take their medications as prescribed.
The study targeted type 2 diabetes as a known complication of lupus and is the first study to evaluate the link between nonadherence to antimalarial medication and lupus patients.
The study, “Adherence to antimalarial therapy and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: A population‐based study,” is published in Arthritis Care and Research and is available online at https://doi.org/10.1002/acr.24147.
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