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Statins Appear to Reduce Glaucoma Risk

Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP
Published Online: Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taking statins appears to reduce the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma, according to the results of a recent study.

Researchers have found potential new indications for statins—originally developed to lower cholesterol—in preventing a range of diseases and conditions, including cerebrovascular and cardiac events, ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Based on evidence that statins may be protective in other central nervous system disorders, several researchers have looked at the possibility that statins may prevent open-angle glaucoma (OAG).
 
For a study published online on June 22, 2012, in Ophthalmology, researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School used a nationwide health care claims database containing detailed medical records for 500,000 older Americans with hyperlipidemia to look for an association between statin use and OAG. After adjustment for confounding factors, they found:
  • The hazard of developing OAG decreased 0.3% for each month of statin consumption.
  • Patients who took statins for 12 of the previous 24 months had a 4% decreased hazard of OAG relative to individuals who not taken statins at all in the last 2 years.
  • Those who took statins continuously for 2 years had an 8% decreased hazard of OAG relative to those who did not take statins over a 2-year span.
  • Other non-statin cholesterol-lowering medications did not reduce the hazard of OAG.
Ms. Wick is a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy and a freelance writer from Virginia.
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