Does Plaquenil, a medication commonly used to treat RA, lower the risk of developing diabetes?
The Journal of the American Medication Association (JAMA) published a study which looked at that very question. (See Hydroxychloroquine and Risk of Diabetes in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis) Antimalarial drugs, like hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) which is commonly used in autoimmune diseases such rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, have been reported to cause both symptomatic and asymptomatic hypoglycemia and have been explored as an adjunct to insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents for poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.
Results from this 20+ year study showed a reduction in diabetes risk of up to 77% for RA patients taking 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. Secondly, those who had taken hydroxychloroquine compared with those who had never taken the drug who had prevalent diabetes at enrollment or developed diabetes during the follow-up observation period were less likely to report use of hypoglycemic medication. Antimalarial drugs may have a role in treating rheumatoid arthritis not only to suppress inflammation of the joint-linings but also to reduce the likelihood of developing glucose intolerance and dyslipidemia.Read this post in its entirety:
Complications of Having Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diabetes