Antimalarial medication effective on diabetes in rheumatoid arthritis patients

San Francisco researcher have found that the use of antimalarial medication may prevent the onset of diabetes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

The study looked at, among other things, use of the medication hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and the development of new cases of diabetes in these patients.HCQ was developed to treat malaria but it has also been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

The study examined the records of 2,093 Geisinger patients who received treatment for rheumatoid arthritis from 2000 to 2008.

Androniki Bili, MD, MPH, lead study investigator and Geisinger rheumatologist said, “Given the relative safety and low cost of this generic drug, HCQ may be useful in preventing diabetes in other high risk groups.”

About 23.6 million Americans have diabetes, while 1.3 million have rheumatoid arthritis.People with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk for diabetes due to more sedentary lifestyle, chronic inflammation and use of steroid medications that can cause weight gain.

Source: Science Daily

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