HealthDay News — Adherence to antimalarials may offer a protective effect against type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to a study recently published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Shahrzad Salmasi, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues used administrative health data to evaluate the association between adherence to antimalarials and T2DM in patients with SLE. Adherence was defined as adherent (proportion days covered [PDC] ≥ 0.90), nonadherent (0 < PDC < 0.90), and discontinuer (no drug).

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The researchers found that during a median 4.62 years of follow-up, there were 140 incident cases of T2DM among 1,498 SLE patients (90.8 percent women). Compared with discontinuers, there was a lower risk for incident T2DM among SLE patients initiating antimalarials (hazard ratio, 0.61 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.40 to 0.93] for adherent and 0.78 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.50 to 1.22] for nonadherent).

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“For people with lupus, preventing type 2 diabetes is critical,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Given the clear implications of nonadherence to lupus treatment, future research should focus on developing and testing ways to improve antimalarial adherence.”

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