Type 2 diabetes mellitus, glycaemic control, associated therapies and risk of rheumatoid arthritis: a retrospective cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • University of Warwick
  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust


Objective . To compare the incident risk of RA in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and to explore the role of glycaemic control and associated therapeutic use in the onset of RA.

Methods . This study was a retrospective cohort study using patients derived from the IQVIA Medical Research Data (IMRD-UK) database between 1995 and 2019. A total of 224 551 newly diagnosed patients with T2DM were matched to 449 101 patients without T2DM and followed up to assess their risk of RA. Further analyses investigated the effect of glycaemic control, statin use and anti-diabetic drugs on the relationship between T2DM and RA using a time-dependent Cox regression model.

Results . During the study period, the incidence of RA was 8.1 and 10.6 per 10 000 person-years in the exposed and unexposed groups, respectively. The adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) was 0.73 (95% CI 0.67, 0.79). In patients who had not used statins in their lifetime, the aHR was 0.89 (95% CI 0.69, 1.14). When quantifying the effects of glycaemic control, anti-diabetic drugs and statins using time-varying analyses, there was no association with glycaemic control [aHR 1.00 (95% CI 0.99, 1.00)], use of metformin [aHR 1.00 (95% CI 0.82, 1.22)], dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors [DPP4is; aHR 0.94 (95% CI 0.71, 1.24)] and the development of RA. However, statins demonstrated a protective effect for progression of RA in those with T2DM [aHR 0.76 (95% CI 0.66, 0.88)], with evidence of a duration–response relationship.

Conclusion . There is a reduced risk of RA in patients with T2DM that may be attributable to the use of statins.

Bibliographic note

Final Version of Record not yet available as of 15/07/2021.


Original languageEnglish
JournalRheumatology (Oxford, England)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jan 2021


  • Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, epidemiology, electronic health records

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