Statins' Effects in Increasing Cataract Risk Appears Similar to that of Type 2 Diabetes, Reports Optometry and Vision Science

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Fran

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Aug 14, 2012, 9:22:03 AM8/14/12
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... Patients using cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may be at
increased risk of developing age-related cataracts, according to a
study - “Age-related Cataract Is Associated with Type 2 Diabetes and
Statin Use”, in the August issue of Optometry and Vision Science, ...

While further research is needed to understand the true nature of the
association, the additional risk of cataracts in statin users appears
similar to that associated with type 2 diabetes, according to the
study...

The study included nearly 6,400 patients seen at the optometry clinic
at the University of Waterloo in 2007-08. Of these, 452 patients had
type 2 diabetes. Statin treatment and diabetes were evaluated as
possible risk factors for age-related cataracts, controlling for other
factors including sex, smoking, and high blood pressure.

Fifty-six percent of patients with type 2 diabetes were taking
statins, compared to 16 percent of those without diabetes. Both
diabetes and statin use were significantly associated with an
increased rate of age-related cataracts.

With adjustment for other factors, diabetes was associated with an 82
percent increase in cataract risk and statin use with a 57 percent
increase. Statistically, the increase in cataract risk associated with
statins was similar to that associated with diabetes...

Despite the high rate of statin use among patients with diabetes, the
two risk factors appeared independent of each other. At older ages,
the risk of cataracts increased fastest in diabetic patients who took
statins and slowest in non-diabetic patients who did not take statins.
On average, cataracts developed 5.6 years earlier in diabetic patients
who took statins, compared to non-diabetic patients who did not take
statins.

Type 2 diabetes is a known risk factor for the development of
age-related cataracts—a common vision problem caused by clouding of
the crystalline lens of the eye. Studies in animals have shown a clear
link between long-term treatment with statins (at high doses) and
cataracts.

The new study suggests that statins may also be linked to cataracts in
humans. The authors emphasize that the study can't prove that statins
play any role in causing cataracts, but suggest that such a link is
biologically plausible.

While further studies are needed, Dr Machan and colleagues emphasize
that the known benefits of statin treatment for patients with type 2
diabetes probably outweigh any increased risk of cataracts. They
believe their results will help to increase awareness of the risks of
treatments for type 2 diabetes, and may encourage the development of
alternative cholesterol-lowering drugs that are not associated with an
increased risk of cataracts.

Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Optometry and Vision
Science, comments, "Considering the increase in the prevalence of
diabetes and the corresponding increase in the use of statins, the
authors feel these findings serve to encourage further research on the
long-term effect of statins on the human crystalline lens."

To read the article “Age-related Cataract Is Associated with Type 2
Diabetes and Statin Use”, please visit
http://journals.lww.com/optvissci/Fulltext/2012/08000/

Tom Ridgley

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Aug 14, 2012, 9:00:29 PM8/14/12
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Thanks for these Fran. The list goes on and on. Maybe we shouldn't interfere with liver funtioning. Tom Ridgley
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