Objective: Several studies have suggested that alcohol drinking is protective for the development and progression of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, a protopathic bias might also explain this apparent association. Our objective was to investigate the association between alcohol consumption and incidence of SLE in a data set that has information on both current and pre-diagnostic alcohol consumption.
Methods: We performed an Internet-based case–control study of SLE. Cases were diagnosed within 5 years of the study and met ⩾4 American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE. The control participants were tightly matched to cases on demographic and socio-economic characteristics using a propensity score. Participants completed an online exposure assessment. We used conditional logistic regression analyses to test the association of current and pre-diagnostic alcohol consumption with SLE.
Results: The sample comprised 114 cases with SLE and 228 matched controls. Current drinking (>2 days per week) was inversely associated with SLE (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.98). Having more than two drinks per day was also inversely associated with SLE (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.93). However, alcohol consumption before SLE diagnosis was not associated with the risk of SLE (p⩾0.4). Analysis of the change in drinking habits showed that people with lupus were more likely to quit drinking before (OR 2.25, 95% CI 0.96 to 5.28) or after (OR 2.38, 95% CI 0.88 to 6.49) being given the SLE diagnosis.
Conclusions: Our results show that alcohol consumption before SLE diagnosis is not associated with the risk for SLE, and that individuals who develop SLE are more likely to quit.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Competing interests: None.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.