TUESDAY, Nov. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For patients prescribed hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), cumulative dose, duration of use, chronic kidney disease, and Asian race are independent risk factors for incident HCQ retinopathy, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held virtually from Nov. 3 to 9.

April M. Jorge, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used data from a U.S. integrated health network to identify individuals with continued use of HCQ for five or more years from 1997 to 2020.

The researchers identified 4,899 long-term HCQ users, of whom 164 had incident HCQ retinopathy (100 mild, 38 moderate, and 26 severe cases). A parafoveal pattern was seen in 131 patients, and a pericentral pattern was seen in 33 patients. In a matched analysis (159 cases and 755 controls), the risk for HCQ retinopathy doubled for every additional five years of use. There was an association observed between cumulative dose and higher risk (adjusted risk ratio, 4.28 per additional 500 g). Among Asian patients, increased risks were seen for HCQ retinopathy overall as well as for moderate/severe grade and the pericentral pattern. There was a doubled risk for retinopathy overall and a tripled risk for moderate/severe retinopathy with chronic kidney disease.

“It is important to better understand each patient’s personalized risk of retinopathy, so this can be weighed against the potential benefits of the medication and help guide treatment,” Jorge said in a statement.

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