Diabetes medication associated with slower progression of retina disease

Jun 09, 2008

Patients with diabetes who take the medication rosiglitazone may be less likely to develop the eye disease proliferative diabetic retinopathy or to experience reductions in visual acuity (sharpness), according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs when existing blood vessels in the retina are blocked or damaged and new, tiny blood vessels form, according to background information in the article. It one of is the most common causes of severe vision loss among working-age Americans, and few effective therapies exist to delay its progression.

Lucy Q. Shen, M.D., of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of California–Los Angeles, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 124 patients who were treated with rosiglitazone and who were receiving medical and ophthalmic care at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston between May 2002 and May 2003. They compared these patients to 158 patients who also had diabetes but were not taking rosiglitazone or a similar medication.

At the beginning of the study, 14 eyes of those in the rosiglitazone group (6.4 percent) and 24 eyes of those in the control group (9.3 percent) had severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, an earlier stage of the disease in which new blood vessels have not yet developed. Among those, 7.7 percent of those in the rosiglitazone group and 29.2 percent of those in the control group progressed to proliferative diabetic retinopathy after one year. After three years, 19.2 percent in the rosiglitazone group and 47.4 percent in the control group had progressed from non-proliferative to proliferative diabetic retinopathy—a 59.5 percent relative risk reduction in the rosiglitazone group.

In addition, fewer eyes in the rosiglitazone group than in the control group experienced a loss in visual acuity of three or more lines on the vision chart (.5 percent vs. 14.5 percent) during an average of 2.8 years of follow-up.

Rosiglitazone may delay the progression of retinopathy and preserve vision by reducing the formation of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis, the authors note. "However, because this study does not rigorously prove that rosiglitazone either reduces the incidence of proliferative diabetic retinopathy or prevents loss of visual acuity, and because there may be adverse effects from therapy, rosiglitazone treatment of patients with diabetes specifically to reduce these ophthalmic complications is not advocated at this time," they write. Known adverse effects include fluid build-up, abnormal liver function test and the worsening of congestive heart failure.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ahead of Emmys, Netflix already winning online

5 hours ago

Even if it doesn't take home any of the major trophies at Monday's Emmy Awards, Netflix will have already proven itself the top winner in one regard: Internet programming.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

5 hours ago

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

5 hours ago

A SpaceX rocket exploded in midair during a test flight, though no one was injured, as the company seeks to develop a spacecraft that can return to Earth and be used again.

Official says hackers hit up to 25,000 US workers

5 hours ago

The internal records of as many as 25,000 Homeland Security Department employees were exposed during a recent computer break-in at a federal contractor that handles security clearances, an agency official said Friday.

Recommended for you

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

5 hours ago

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

21 hours ago

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

Mind over matter for people with disabilities

Aug 26, 2014

People with serious physical disabilities are unable to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted despite having the will – and the brainpower – to do so. This is changing thanks to European ...

Ukraine's former world's tallest man dies

Aug 25, 2014

Ukraine's tallest man, who briefly held the world record but gave it up to live as a recluse, has died due to complications from the condition that saw him never stop growing, local media reported Monday.

User comments : 0