Commonly used arthritis drugs may cut diabetes risk among patients, study finds

NEW YORK — Patients with inflammatory conditions may have lower rates of diabetes if they take drugs commonly used to treat arthritis, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, examined nearly 14,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis who took disease-modifying anthrheumatic drugs. Patients who have these diseases have significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Patients were broken down into groups that took tumor-necrosis factor inhibitors — a biotech drug — methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine or non-biologic DMARDs. The researchers found that of all the groups, those taking TNF inhibitors or hydroxychloroquine had the lowest incidence of diabetes. Though the researchers found an association between lower diabetes risk and use of one of the two DMARDs, they remained uncertain as to whether the relationship was causal.

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