Protective effect of hydroxychloroquine in systemic lupus erythematosus. Prospective long-term study of an Israeli cohort

Lupus. 2002;11(6):356-61. doi: 10.1191/0961203302lu203ra.


Systemic lupus erythematosus-associated irreversible organ/system damage was previously associated with various clinical and demographic features. We analysed the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SLICC/ACR DI) in a cohort of 151 Israeli patients followed for a mean (+/- s.d.) period of 45.7 +/- 37.4 months. Mean score of SLICC/ACR DI at the first and last encounters were 0.17 +/- 64 and 1.64 +/- 2.1, respectively (P < 0.0001). Multiple logistic regression analyses disclosed a statistically significant positive correlation with corticosteroid and cyclophosphamide therapy. Hydroxychloroquine therapy was significantly associated with lower SLICC/ACR DI. Although the size of our study group did not allow us to find specific organs/systems which were associated with the protective effect of hydroxychloroquine, we suggest this is due to the antiatherogenic effects attributed to antimalarial therapy in SLE.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / therapeutic use*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antimalarials
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Cyclophosphamide