Possible retinopathy benefits with statins for diabetes patients with dyslipidemia
medwireNews: A population-based study suggests that treatment with a statin may slow the risk for new and worsening retinopathy in patients with diabetes and dyslipidemia.
The analysis was of a propensity-matched cohort of 18,947 diabetes patients with elevated cholesterol levels who were taking statins and an equal number who were not, identified in a Taiwanese database. The statin users had a significant 14% reduced risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, largely down to a 36% reduction in the risk for proliferative retinopathy, although there was also a significant 8% reduction in nonproliferative retinopathy risk.
Statin users additionally had substantial and significant reductions in the risk for vitreous hemorrhage, tractional retinal detachment, and macular edema, and similarly large reductions in the likelihood of receiving interventions for vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy, including retinal laser treatment and intravitreal injection.
Supporting these associations, the risk for retinopathy and its interventions fell with increasing intensity of statin therapy and increasing patient adherence to statin treatment.
Researcher Yih-Shiou Hwang (Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan) and team note in JAMA Ophthalmology that statins have pleiotropic effects.
Some of these, such as “improving endothelial function and inhibiting fibrotic proliferation, inflammation, oxidative stress, and [vascular endothelial growth factor]-associated angiogenesis” might explain the protective effects of statin treatment against diabetic retinopathy, they suggest.
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