Arthritis Research Canada shows lupus patients who take their medications at lower risk for type 2 diabetes


Vancouver, BC – An Arthritis Research Canada study has revealed good news for patients with lupus – showing that those who take their medications as prescribed, have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to lupus patients who do not.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects several parts of the body. It’s considered “the disease of a thousand faces” because symptoms change often and vary from person to person. Currently, there is no cure for lupus. Medications for lupus are primarily focused on easing a patient’s symptoms and reducing inflammation. Hydroxychloroquine a medicine used to treat malaria and for patients dealing with lupus flares, also has the ability to potentially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Using British Columbia health data that includes information on prescriptions, healthcare visits, and hospitalizations – Arthritis Research Canada research scientist, Dr. Mary De Vera and her team studied lupus patients over four years. They found that compared to those who did not take their medications as prescribed, namely hydroxychloroquine, those who did – had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

“This research suggests a 39% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among lupus patients who took their medications as prescribed, in terms of following the dosing instructions and staying on the medication, “ De Vera said.

 “This study is important because although we know from our prior research that an average of 43% to 75% of lupus patients do not take their medications as prescribed,” she states, “There is actually limited evidence on how this impacts patient outcomes.”

The study targeted type 2 diabetes as a known complication of lupus and is the first study to evaluate the link between non-adherence to antimalarial medication (hydroxychloroquine) and lupus patients. This is definitely important information for all people with lupus, to help improve their health and the quality and length of life.



Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Led by world-renowned rheumatologist, Dr. John Esdaile, Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific team of over 100 are creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. With four centres across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec (Laval and McGill Universities), Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.


For more information or media inquiries, please contact:

Marketing and Communications

Arthritis Research Canada

604-207-4010 or mc@arthritisresearch.ca




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