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Longterm hydroxychloroquine therapy may reduce cardiovascular events in SLE


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Longterm hydroxychloroquine therapy may reduce cardiovascular events in SLE

June 16, 2017

MADRID — Long-term use of hydroxychloroquine was associated with reduced cardiovascular risks in a cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus,according to findings presented at the EULAR Annual Congress.

“[Systemic lupus erythematosus] SLE may be considered a coronary heart disease condition,” Serena Fasano, MD, of the Rheumatology Unit at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Naples, said. “Patients should be investigated for traditional and SLE-related risk factors. SLE patients are candidates for aspirin prophylaxis and long-term hydroxychloroquine. Statins are recommended for patients with persistently high LDL cholesterol levels.”

The aim of the study was to assess the role of aspirin, hydroxychloroquine and statins as primary prophylaxis of cardiovascular events in SLE. The study included clinical chart reviews of 291 patients with 8 years of follow-up.

“The primary outcome was the first cardiovascular event,” Fasano said.

Results showed 16 events in that time. There were seven myocardial infarctions and two strokes in the group.

The event-free rate was higher in the 120 patients treated with low-dose aspirin (hazard ratio

= 0.27) and hydroxychloroquine for more than 5 years (HR = 0.26) than in 98 patients who were treated with aspirin alone or hydroxychloroquine for fewer than 5 years.

“Low-dose aspirin and hydroxychloroquine were negative predictors of events,” Fasano said.

No such association was reported for statins. Smoking, obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, diabetes mellitus, disease activity, severe SLE, or use of immunosuppressive agents or steroids failed to demonstrate any kind of association with cardiovascular events, according to Fasano.

Multivariable analysis results showed the associations between low-dose aspirin (HR = 0.24) or hydroxychloroquine use for longer than 5 years (HR = 0.27) and reduced incidence of cardiovascular events persisted. — by Rob Volansky


Fasano S, et al. Abstract #OP0233. Presented at: EULAR Annual Congress; June 14-17, 2017; Madrid.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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