Use of TNF inhibitors may cut the risk of diabetes

THE risk of developing diabetes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis may be lowered by the use of TNF inhibitors, a study suggests.

US research involving nearly 14,000 patients found the incidence of new cases of diabetes over a six-month period were reduced by 38% in those receiving TNF inhibitors, and 46% for those receiving hydroxychloroquine, compared with other non-biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Associate Professor Evange Romas, director of rheumatology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, said the study underlined the complex inter-relationship between inflammatory diseases and insulin resistance.

“Treatments that target inflammation are likely to have collateral benefits, including reduced rates of diabetes, for instance,” he said.

However, he cautioned the findings would not immediately lead to changes in practice.

JAMA 2011; 305:2525-31