Hydroxychloroquine Use Not Linked With Risk for Alzheimer Disease

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Investigators addressed the association between long-term use of hydroxychloroquine therapy and the risk for Alzheimer disease.

There is no clinically confirmed link between hydroxychloroquine exposure and Alzheimer disease risk, according to correspondence published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.1

Researchers conducted a preliminary, case-control study using data from the 2005-2012 Taiwan National Health Insurance Program that included adults aged ≥65 years with a new diagnosis of Alzheimer disease; adults aged ≥65 years without dementia were placed in a control group. Patients were excluded if cumulative hydroxychloroquine use was <3 months.

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Results indicated that there was no statistical association between hydroxychloroquine use and Alzheimer disease risk (crude odds ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.50-1.87; P =.92).

“Due to only [9] cases  with Alzheimer disease ever using hydroxychloroquine in our study, further research with a large case number is required to confirm our finding,” the researchers wrote.

The current study follows a UK cohort study,2 also published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, in which researchers indicated that long-term hydroxychloroquine use was not associated with the risk for Alzheimer disease when compared with nonuse of hydroxychloroquine (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.58-1.12; P =.20).

“We agree…that there is no conclusive evidence linking hydroxychloroquine use and the risk of Alzheimer disease, regardless of the population studied,” the researchers concluded. “Randomized controlled trials are needed to explore the issue.”


  1. Lai S-W, Kuo Y-H, Liao K-F. Chronic hydroxychloroquine exposure and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease [published online August 21, 2019]. Ann Rheum Dis. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2019-216173
  2. Fardet L, Nazareth I, Petersen I. Chronic hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine exposure for connective tissue diseases and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease: a population-based cohort study [published online September 5, 2018]. Ann Rheum Dis. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-214016

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor