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Hydroxychloroquine May Be Best in Certain Patients

More effective than methotrexate in lowering HbA1c in diabetes/rheumatic disease patients

THURSDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) initiation is associated with a significant reduction in glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, as compared with methotrexate (MTX) initiation, in patients suffering from both diabetes and rheumatic disease, according to a report published in the December issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Laura R. Rekedal, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues studied 45 patients with diabetes who were taking HCQ, and 37 who were taking MTX, to determine the effects of the two medications on HbA1c level over a 12-month period. About half of the patients in each group had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers found that the pretreatment HbA1c levels were similar for both groups. The mean drop in HbA1c from pretreatment values to the lowest posttreatment values was 0.66 percent in the HCQ group and 0.11 percent in the MTX group. In fully adjusted analysis, the researchers determined the reduction in HbA1c level to be 0.54 percent greater in the HCQ group than the MTX group.

"Data from our study represent novel findings, highlighting the potential ability of HCQ to decrease HbA1c in diabetes patients with systemic inflammatory disease," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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