These common medications are associated with a lower prevalence of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) in European populations.
According to a pooled data analysis of the available research, which was published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, regular use of medications to lower cholesterol and manage type 2 diabetes may reduce the incidence of AMD, a degenerative eye condition associated with ageing.
In high-income nations, AMD is the main contributor to serious vision impairment in elderly adults. The ailment presently affects 67 million individuals in Europe alone, and as the continent’s population ages, it is expected that the number of new cases would skyrocket.
AMD impairs both central vision and fine detail perception. AMD is assumed to be brought on by a number of aging-related genetic and environmental factors, but the best ways to stop it or delay its development are still unknown.
Earlier studies have suggested that medications to lower cholesterol, manage diabetes, and reduce inflammation may assist to minimise the chance of getting AMD, but these results were inconsistent and based on small participant numbers.
The researchers aggregated the findings from 14 population-based and hospital-based studies, encompassing 38,694 participants from France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Russia, and the UK, in an effort to circumvent these problems. The investigations were conducted as a part of the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) project, a cooperative pan-European network whose main goal is to create and analyse sizable pooled datasets to further our understanding of eye illness and vision loss.
All of the participants were over 50 and taking at least one medication, such as Levodopa, to address movement impairments brought on by neurodegenerative diseases as well as to lower cholesterol, regulate diabetes, and reduce inflammation. In the studies that were considered, the prevalence of AMD ranged from 12% to 64.5%, totaling 9332 instances, whereas the majority of advanced (late) AMD cases ranged from 0.5% to 35.5%, totaling 951.
After taking into account any potential influencing factors, the pooled data analysis revealed that medicines to lower cholesterol or control diabetes were related to, respectively, 15% and 22% lower prevalence of any AMD. Despite the fact that there were only a relatively small number of such cases, the researchers highlight that no such connections were discovered for any of the other forms of drug use or progressive AMD in particular.
The researchers emphasise that theirs is the first significant pooled data analysis of its kind to use individual-level data from numerous population- and hospital-based studies.
However, more longitudinal data are required to support our findings, which, as a result of just collecting cross-sectional data and being unable to establish causality, are intrinsically constrained.
“Our study suggests that regular intake of [lipid lowering] and antidiabetic drugs are associated with reduced prevalence of AMD in the general population. Given a potential interference of these drugs with pathophysiological pathways relevant in AMD, this may contribute to a better understanding of AMD etiology,” they conclude.
The results imply that metabolic processes play a crucial role in the development of AMD, which may open up new treatment options and have an impact on public health messages.