Objective: To investigate the associations of alcohol consumption and radiographic disease progression in African Americans with recently diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: Patients with RA included in the study were participants in the Consortium for the Longitudinal Evaluation of African Americans with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (CLEAR) registry. Patients were categorized based on self-reported alcohol consumption; those consuming < 15 beverages per month versus those with ≥ 15 per month. Association of radiographic disease progression over a 1-year to 3-year period of observation with alcohol consumption was evaluated using multivariate generalized estimating equations.
Results: Of 166 patients included in the study, 39% reported that they had never consumed alcohol. Of the 61% who had consumed alcohol, 73% reported that they consumed on average < 15 alcoholic beverages per month and 27% reported consuming ≥ 15 per month. In multivariate analysis, consumption of ≥ 15 alcoholic beverages per month was associated with an increased risk of radiographic disease progression (p = 0.017). There was no evidence of a relationship in those consuming < 15 beverages per month (p = 0.802).
Conclusion: There appears to be a dose-dependent relationship between alcohol use and radiographic disease progression in RA. Individuals who consume 15 or more alcoholic beverages per month may have faster rates of radiographic joint damage than those with lower levels of consumption.
Keywords: ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION; DISEASE ACTIVITY; DISEASE SEVERITY; RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS.