The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2018 American College of Rheumatology and Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR/ARHP) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. MPR’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in rheumatology. Check back for the latest news from ACR/ARHP 2018 .

CHICAGO — The use of the disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) abatacept could lead to a reduction in the risk for diabetes mellitus in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study presented at the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, October 19-24, in Chicago, Illinois.

Researchers analyzed data from the Truven Marketscan database to group patients with RA by the DMARD they were using for treatment: abatacept, infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab, certolizumab, etanercept, tocilizumab, or tofacitinib. 

They followed the participants until they were diagnosed with diabetes or reached the end of the 10-year study. For outcome purposes, they performed analyses with the entire study group divided into new biologic initiators, which were patients who were biologic treatment naive (n=56,014), or biologic switchers, which were patients who changed biologic treatments (n=27,152). 

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The study population had an average age of 50 years, was about 75% female, and used infliximab, adalimumab, and etanercept treatments most frequently. Overall, there were 335 new cases of diabetes in the new biologic initiator group and 155 in the biologic switchers group.

When calculating the inverse probability, initiating infliximab and etanercept had the highest risk for diabetes (hazard ratio [HR], 3.00; 95% CI, 1.5-6.0; HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.17-4.45, respectively) while initiating abatacept had the lowest risk for diabetes.

The researchers concluded their findings indicate that for patients with RA, abatacept reduced the risk for diabetes and “potentially improved insulin sensitivity and glycemic profile.”

Disclosures: Several authors noted affiliation with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, and Roche.

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Desai RJ, Dejene S, Jin Y, Liu J, Kim SC. Comparative risk of diabetes mellitus in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with different biologics- a cohort study. Presented at: 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting; October 19-24, 2018; Chicago, IL. Abstract 1534.

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This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor