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Wood PR, Manning E, Baker JF, England B, Davis L, Cannon GW, Mikuls TR, Caplan L. Blood glucose changes surrounding initiation of tumor-necrosis factor inhibitors and conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in veterans with rheumatoid arthritis. World journal of diabetes. 2018 Feb 15; 9(2):53-58.
AIM: To determine the scope of acute hypoglycemic effects for certain anti-rheumatic medications in a large retrospective observational study. METHODS: Patients enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Rheumatoid Arthritis (VARA) registry were selected who, during follow-up, initiated treatment with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi''s, including etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, golimumab, or certolizumab), prednisone, or conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and for whom proximate random blood glucose (RBG) measurements were available within a window 2-wk prior to, and 6 mo following, medication initiation. Similar data were obtained for patients with proximate values available for glycosylated hemoglobin A1C values within a window 2 mo preceding, and 12 mo following, medication initiation. RBG and A1C measurements were compared before and after initiation events using paired -tests, and multivariate regression analysis was performed including established comorbidities and demographics. RESULTS: Two thousands one hundred and eleven patients contributed at least one proximate measurement surrounding the initiation of any examined medication. A significant decrease in RBG was noted surrounding 653 individual hydroxychloroquine-initiation events (-3.68 mg/dL, = 0.04), while an increase was noted for RBG surrounding 665 prednisone-initiation events (+5.85 mg/dL, < 0.01). A statistically significant decrease in A1C was noted for sulfasalazine initiation, as measured by 49 individual initiation events (-0.70%, < 0.01). Multivariate regression analyses, using methotrexate as the referent, suggest sulfasalazine (ß = -0.58, = 0.01) and hydroxychloroquine (ß = -5.78, = 0.01) use as predictors of lower post-medication-initiation RBG and A1C values, respectively. Analysis by drug class suggested prednisone (or glucocorticoids) as predictive of higher medication-initiation event RBG among all start events as compared to DMARDs, while this analysis did not show any drug class-level effect for TNFi. A diagnosis of congestive heart failure (ß = 4.69, = 0.03) was predictive for higher post-initiation RBG values among all medication-initiation events. CONCLUSION: No statistically significant hypoglycemic effects surrounding TNFi initiation were observed in this large cohort. Sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine may have epidemiologically significant acute hypoglycemic effects.