Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis

People with Rheumatoid Arthritis have a higher incidence of Diabetes than the general population. A study was recently conducted to see if any of the medications commonly used by patients who have Rheumatoid Arthritis, were helpful in lowering blood glucose (sugar) levels.

The study found that two common medications had a significant benefit in reducing the risk of diabetes: hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) a disease modifying medication taken as a tablet, and the biologic medication abatacept (Orencia). However, it has been found that the steroid medication prednisone can increase the risk of diabetes and raise blood glucose levels.

Many people with Diabetes also take cholesterol lowering medications, referred to as “statins”.  These medications can also raise blood glucose levels, however their benefit reducing heart disease is still felt to outweigh this risk.

For more information on Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis, speak to your healthcare provider.


Our pharmacist, Carolyn Whiskin, recently returned from The American College of Rheumatology Conference, the largest international meeting held for rheumatology. Over 15,000 health professionals from around the world specializing in research and the care of people with arthritis were in attendance. Today’s blog post is one several to come with information Carolyn learned at the Conference.

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