The Low-Down on Low-Dose Glucocorticoids: Weight Gain but No Blood Pressure Spike in RA Patients
In a comprehensive analysis pooling data from five randomized controlled trials, researchers evaluated the long-term effects of low-dose glucocorticoids on weight and blood pressure in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study offers valuable insights into the risk profile of low-dose glucocorticoid therapy, particularly in the context of RA management.
- Design: Pooled analysis of 5 randomized controlled trials with 2-year interventions, allowing for concomitant treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
- Setting: Conducted across 12 European countries.
- Patients: A total of 1,112 participants were included, with a mean age of 61.4 years and 68% being women. Included both early and established RA patients.
- Intervention: Glucocorticoids at dosages of 7.5 mg or less prednisone equivalent per day.
- Measurements: Coprimary end points were changes in body weight and mean arterial pressure after 2 years, with a secondary end point assessing the change in the number of antihypertensive drugs.
- Weight gain was observed in both groups, but glucocorticoid treatment led to an average 1.1 kg more weight gain than the control (P < 0.001).
- No significant difference in mean arterial pressure was observed between the groups (P = 0.187).
- No evidence of differences in the number of antihypertensive drugs between groups.
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