(HealthDay News) — Metabolic syndrome is common in young, premenopausal women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and chloroquine appears to protect against metabolic syndrome in these women, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Luciana F. Muniz, MD, from Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues evaluated the frequency of metabolic syndrome and disease- or therapy-related factors in 103 premenopausal SLE patients (<40 years) and 35 healthy, premenopausal, age-matched women.

A higher frequency of metabolic syndrome in the SLE group (22.3% vs. 5.7%; P=.03), the researchers found. 

Compared with those without metabolic syndrome, SLE patients with metabolic syndrome had higher SLE Disease Activity Index scores (P=.006), more frequently had previous renal disease (73.9% vs. 51.2%; P=.05) and current renal disease (34.8% vs. 10%; P=.008), and had higher current prednisone dose (P=.018) and cumulative prednisone dose (P=.023). 

Chloroquine was less frequently used in metabolic syndrome-SLE patients (65.2% vs. 90%; P=.008). In multivariate analysis, only current chloroquine use (prevalence ratio [PR], 0.29) and cumulative prednisone were associated with metabolic syndrome (PR, 1.02).

“Chloroquine has a protective effect on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in these patients, and this benefit counteracts the deleterious effect of glucocorticoids in a dose-dependent manner,” the researchers concluded.


  1. Muniz LF et al. Arthritis Care Res. 2015;67(9):1255-1262.