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Antimalarial drugs ‘cut lupus risk’


People suffering from lupus should be treated with anti-malarial drugs, according to a report.

Argentinian researchers found using the treatment appeared to reduce the risk of dying from lupus by nearly 40%, prevented flare-ups and lowered the disease’s overall damage.

Led by Dr Bernardo A. Pons-Estel, from Hospital Provincial de Rosario, Argentina, a team of scientists studied about 1,500 lupus sufferers from nine countries for an average of four-and-a-half years each.

Both subjects and doctors were aware of what treatments were used during the study, which revealed almost 12% of patients not using anti-malarial drugs died during the follow-up period.

Only 4% of those receiving anti-malarial medication died in the same year, and if patients used the drugs for longer than two years, the difference in death rate was even higher.

Scientists accounted for various other factors before concluding the treatment cut the risk of death by almost 40% during the study.

Writing in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, the authors said: “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.”

Copyright Press Association 2010

Arthritis and Rheumatism journal

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