Reduced incidence of alcohol related deaths in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis
- aKuopio University Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine, Kuopio, Finland, bNational Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland, cRheumatism Foundation Hospital, Heinola, Finland, dDivision of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
- Dr R Myllykangas-Luosujärvi, Kuopio University Hospital, PO Box 1777, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland
- Accepted 9 September 1999
OBJECTIVES It has previously been shown that people with ankylosing spondylitis have an increased incidence of alcohol related deaths from accidents and violence. This study investigated alcohol related deaths in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS The study covered the subjects, 1666 in number, who had died in 1989 and had been entitled under the nationwide sickness insurance scheme to receive specially reimbursed medication for RA.
RESULTS There were eight alcohol related deaths among the 480 men and three deaths among the 1186 women with RA. The standardised mortality ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were 0.40 (95% CI 0.20, 0.80) and 0.40 (95% CI 0.13, 1.26), respectively.
CONCLUSION Alcohol either protects from RA or, subjects with RA curtail their drinking after the manifestation of RA.