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Alcohol consumption and the risk of mortality and myocardial infarction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis


Many studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower risks of mortality and myocardial infarction (MI). Researchers examined the potential effects of alcohol on all-cause mortality and myocardial infarction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a risk factor condition.
A cohort study (1995-2017) was conducted using medical records of rheumatoid arthritis patients from The Health Improvement Network in the United Kingdom (UK). Alcohol exposure was divided into non-drinkers, mild (1-7 UK units/week), moderate (8-14 UK units/week), moderate-high (15-21 UK units/week), and high (>21 UK units/week) consumption levels. Hazard ratios (HRs) for the relation of alcohol consumption to all-cause mortality and myocardial infarction were calculated, adjusting for covariates.
Of 30,320 rheumatoid arthritis patients, 5,994 deaths and 1,098 myocardial infarction cases occurred over 236,188 person-years. Mild-to-moderate alcohol use was associated with lower all-cause mortality in rheumatoid arthritis patients, including those taking methotrexate. The multivariable HRs (95% CI) for mortality by alcohol use category were non-drinkers 1.0, mild 0.80 (0.75-0.85), moderate 0.74 (0.67-0.82), moderate-high 0.84 (0.72-0.98), and high 0.99 (0.86-1.15). Mild, moderate-high, and high levels of alcohol use were associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction among rheumatoid arthritis patients. The HRs myocardial infarction risk by alcohol use category were non-drinkers 1.0, mild 0.81 (0.70-0.94), moderate 0.84 (0.68-1.04), moderate-high 0.51 (0.35-0.74), and high 0.59 (0.42-0.84).
The researchers say that these findings suggest that mild-to-moderate alcohol use is associated with a lower mortality risk and overall alcohol use is associated with a lower myocardial infarction risk in rheumatoid arthritis patients, similar to the general population.
Source: Smith ID, Lu N, Wei J, Zhang Y, Choi HK, Bolster MB. Alcohol consumption and the risk of mortality and myocardial infarction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2022 Jan 25.

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