Statins Act As a Shield Against Diabetic Macular Edema

AUGUST 11, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
ophthalmology, diabetic macular edema, DME, diabetic retinopathy, 34th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists, ASRS 2016, endocrinology, diabetes, type 2 diabetes, pharmacy, statins
There’s been a long history when it comes to statins and the effects on the heart and diabetic health. Evidence backs statins as an effective preventive measure against cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. On the other hand, the drugs increase insulin resistance and impact glucose metabolism, as well as associated with new onset of type 2 diabetes. It’s been unclear whether statins affect the development of diabetic microvascular complications, therefore, Alam Park, MD, from the Ajou University School of Medicine in Korea, and colleagues set out to uncover just that.

Previous studies have shown that fenofibrate, approved in 2008 to be used with a statin, is beneficial for diabetic retinopathy (DR). However, it’s unknown how it impacts the progression DR or how it influences diabetic macular edema (DME). Park and team discussed their findings in a poster presentation at the 34th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS 2016) in San Francisco, California.

The researchers reviewed the medical records from 110 patients with DR and type 2 diabetes. Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) methods measured the DR severity scale (DRSS) outcomes and optical coherence tomography (OCT) confirmed any DME diagnoses. Of the 110 patients, 70 received statins and 40 the other 40 did not. The stain group had an average age of 58, 59% male, type 2 diabetes duration of 12 years, and follow-up period of 27 months. The non-statin group had an average age of 52, 43% male, type 2 diabetes duration of nine years, and follow-up period of 23 months.

DME was diagnosed in 23% of the patients with statins and 48% of those without. There were no significant differences in DRSS outcomes between the groups.

“Higher triglycerides level was significantly associate with central retinal thickness severity risk in DME patients,” the team confirmed.

The use of statins did not impact the progression of DR, however, the drugs showed to be a protective agent against DME prevalence.

Hypertriglyceridemia should be closely monitored, the researchers advised. Add-on therapies such as fenofibrate, niacin, and fish oil could help prevent the incidence of DME in people with DR and type 2 diabetes.

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