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Anti-TNF-α Use Cuts Diabetes Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a 51 percent reduced risk of diabetes with anti-TNF-α use

FRIDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who are treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) therapy have a reduced risk of developing diabetes, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Jana L. Antohe, M.D., from the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., and colleagues investigated the correlation between anti-TNF-α use and the risk of developing diabetes in an RA inception cohort. A total of 1,587 patients without diabetes who were diagnosed with RA from 2001 through 2009 were included, 522 of whom were anti-TNF-α users. Electronic health records were used to collect information on sociodemographic status, medical history, body mass index, laboratory measures, and medications. Incident diabetes was defined using physician-established diagnosis or using the 2010 American Diabetes Association Criteria. Ever- and never-anti-TNF-α users were followed up for a median of 44.9 and 37.1 months, respectively.

The investigators found that, of the 91 participants who developed diabetes, 16 had ever used and 75 had never used anti-TNF-α, correlating with incidence rates of 8.6 and 17.2 per 1,000 person-years, respectively (P = 0.048). On adjusted analysis, anti-TNF-α users had a hazard ratio of 0.49 for incident diabetes compared to never-users (P = 0.049).

"Our results suggest that drugs inhibiting the biologic effect of TNF-α have the potential to not only improve RA activity but to also reduce the burden of diabetes in these chronically ill patients," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to manufacturers of anti-TNF-α, including Amgen, Centocor, and UCB.

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