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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘statins’
A new study has found that there may be a potential benefit in the treatment of the most common dry form of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), using a commonly prescribed Statin drug (used to lower cholesterol). This drug, known by the brand name Lipitor is already commonly prescribed to treat raised cholesterol, but has been found (in a small trial) to reduce the build up of debris underneath the retina which is associated with the dry type of AMD.
The study found that the drug could reduce, or eliminate these deposits, called drusen, particularly “soft” drusen, and lead to a moderate increase in Visual Acuity in affected subjects. The study was trialling a higher dose of the drug than commonly prescribed to treat the cholesterol issue alone, but seemed to be effective – further investigations, with a larger study will be required to ensure that the treatment is safe and effective.
Until now, the only effective help for Dry AMD has been anti-oxidant Vitamins, minerals and other supplements, which do seem to slow the progression of the disease, but perhaps in future there may be other possibilities?
As this problem affects millions of people worldwide, this is potentially exciting news!
There is a new study, published in this month’s American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Journal “Ophthalmology” which has shown that treatment of high cholesterol (hyperlipidaemia) using the class of drug called Statins significantly reduces the risk of developing Open Angle Glaucoma. It is thought that the reduction in risk may be approximately 9 or 10% after 2 years of therapy.
The study investigated the previously noted fact that people with raised cholesterol levels were less likely to develop Open Angle Glaucoma than normals, but their hypothesis was that it was the Statin treatment, and not the raised cholesterol was the protective factor. By comparing people who were treated with Statins, other non statin cholesterol lowering drugs, and those on no treatment at all, the study concluded that the Statins were the protective factor.
People on treatment with Statins have a 4% reduction in risk after 1 year of treatment, and this rises to a 9 to 10% reduction after 2 years of treatment.
The authors caution that at the moment, Statin class medicines should not be considered primarily as a treatment for Open Angle Glaucoma, but they suggest that further investigation should be undertaken to investigate this possibility- many people who have Glaucoma are elderly and find insertion of drops into their eyes to be particularly difficult.
A recent Canadian study has reported that people prescribed Statins- drugs used to reduce cholesterol, have a 50% increase in the likelihood of developing age related cataract. The report also found that Type II (mature onset) Diabetics (who already have an increased risk) are at an even greater risk.
Because raised cholesterol does not co-exist well with Diabetes, many (perhaps most) Diabetics are on cholesterol lowering medicines.
The increase in cataract has been explained by the crystalline lens membrane’s need for a high cholesterol level to ensure proper cell development and therefore normal clarity.
This was a large study (about 6400 people), so the results are pretty clear, but commentators would agree that the impact of a cataract (which is fixable) on as person’s quality of life is much less, compared to a stroke or a heart attack, and many people in this age group would have likely have developed cataract anyway.
The full article can be seen here (you may be required to register and login).