Medicines for cholesterol and diabetes can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration

Medicines for cholesterol and diabetes can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration

Medicines for cholesterol and diabetes can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration

Abstract: A new study reports that regular use of drugs to control type 2 diabetes and lower cholesterol may reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Source: BMJ

Regular use of drugs to lower cholesterol and control type 2 diabetes may reduce the risk of age-related degenerative eye disease, known as AMD, a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in British Journal of Ophthalmology.

These common drugs are associated with a lower prevalence of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) in the European population, the results show.

AMD is the leading cause of severe visual impairment among older adults in high-income countries. In Europe alone, 67 million people currently have the condition, and new cases are predicted to increase over the next few decades as the population ages.

AMD affects central vision and the ability to see small details. A variety of genetic and environmental factors associated with aging are thought to trigger AMD, but it is still unclear how best to prevent it or slow its progression.

Previously published research suggests that drugs to lower cholesterol, control diabetes and reduce inflammation may help reduce the risk of developing AMD, but these findings have been partly contradictory and based on small numbers of participants.

In an attempt to circumvent these problems, the researchers pooled the results of 14 population-based and hospital-based studies, involving 38,694 people from France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Russia and the United Kingdom.

The studies were part of the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) consortium, a collaborative pan-European network whose main goal is to develop and analyze large pooled datasets to further the understanding of eye disease and vision loss.

All participants were over 50 years of age and were taking at least one of the following types of medication to: lower cholesterol, including statins; control diabetes, including insulin; to relieve inflammation, excluding steroids; and Levodopa, which is used to treat movement disorders caused by neurodegenerative disease.

The prevalence of AMD ranged from 12% to 64.5% in the included studies—a total of 9332 cases—while the prevalence of advanced (late) AMD ranged from 0.5% to 35.5%—a total of 951 cases.

Medicines for cholesterol and diabetes can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration
These common drugs are associated with a lower prevalence of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) in the European population, the results show. The image is in the public domain

Pooled data analysis showed that cholesterol-lowering or diabetes-control drugs were associated with a 15% and 22% lower prevalence of any type of AMD, respectively, after potentially confounding factors were taken into account.

No such associations were found for any of the other types of drugs or for advanced AMD in particular, although there were only a relatively small number of such cases, the researchers noted.

Theirs is the first large-scale pooled data analysis of its kind using individual-level data from a variety of population-based and hospital-based studies, the researchers point out.

“However, further longitudinal data are needed to confirm our findings, which are inherently limited by using only cross-sectional data and cannot infer causality,” they caution.

But the findings point to a likely key role for metabolic processes in the development of AMD, which could offer potential new treatments and have implications for public health messages, they suggest.

“Our study suggests that regular intake [lipid lowering] and antidiabetic drugs is associated with a reduced prevalence of AMD in the general population. Given the potential interference of these drugs with pathophysiological pathways relevant to AMD, this may contribute to a better understanding of the etiology of AMD,” they conclude.

About this news about age-related macular degeneration research

Author: BMJ Media Relations
Source: BMJ
Contact: BMJ Media Relations – BMJ
Picture: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Open access.
Association of lipid-lowering and antidiabetic drugs with age-related macular degeneration: a meta-analysis in Europeans” Matthias M Mauschitz et al. British Journal of Ophthalmology


Abstract

See also

This is shown by a diagram from the study

Association of lipid-lowering and antidiabetic drugs with age-related macular degeneration: a meta-analysis in Europeans

Background/Goals

To investigate the association of commonly used systemic medications with the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the general population.

Methods

We included 38,694 adults from 14 population-based and hospital-based studies of the European Consortium for Eye Epidemiology. We examined the association between the use of systemic drugs and any prevalent AMD as well as any late AMD using multivariable logistic regression modeling by study and pooled results using random-effects meta-analysis.

the results

Between studies, the mean age ranged from 61.5±7.1 to 82.6±3.8 years, and the prevalence ranged from 12.1% to 64.5% and from 0.5% to 35.5%, respectively for any and late AMD. In a meta-analysis of fully adjusted multivariable models, lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs) and antidiabetics were associated with a lower prevalence of any AMD (OR 0.85, 95% CI=0.79 to 0.91 and OR 0, 78, 95% CI=0.66 to 0.91). We found no association with late AMD or with any other medication.

Conclusion

Our study indicates a potential beneficial effect of LLD and the use of antidiabetic drugs on the prevalence of AMD in several European cohorts. Our findings support the importance of metabolic processes in the multifactorial etiology of AMD.

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