Malaria drugs may help patients with Lupus
Anthony J. Brown, MD
Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:20pm EST
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Drugs used to treat malaria may be useful for patients with lupus, a chronic debilitating "autoimmune" disease, according to according to a new report.
In fact, the authors of the study, in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, recommend that doctors give the drugs to all patients with lupus.
Lupus is a chronic disease in which the immune system confuses its own healthy tissues with foreign tissues and sometimes attacks both. The condition can manifest as a skin rash or arthritis and may lead to damage to the kidneys, heart, lungs and brain to varying degrees. The disorder disproportionately affects women.
Doctors first realized decades ago that antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine could be used to treat the joint pain often seen in lupus, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. Since then, research has suggested that antimalarial therapy can help prevent flare-ups of lupus and reduce overall damage from the disease, Dr. Bernardo A. Pons-Estel, from Hospital Provincial de Rosario, Argentina, and co-researchers note.
Pons-Estel and his team studied nearly 1,500 patients with lupus from 9 countries. They followed them for an average of about four and a half years. The study was not "blinded" - in other words, subjects, and their doctors, knew what treatments they were getting.
About 12 percent of the patients who did not use the drugs died during the follow-up period, compared to about 4 percent of those who did.
The difference was even higher for patients who used the drugs for more than two years.
After the team accounted for various factors, using antimalarial drugs appeared to reduce the risk of death during the study by almost 40 percent.
"The data presented, taken in conjunction with the data from the published literature, suggest that antimalarials should be used in all lupus patients regardless of their disease manifestation or disease duration," the authors conclude.
SOURCE: Arthritis and Rheumatism, online January 7, 2010.
I have a family member with Lupus that is now starting to looking at medical cannabis.
I would welcome input from any TY members that suffer from Lupus