Lipid-lowering medications are linked to reduced retinopathy risk in T2D

  • Vail D & al.
  • Am J Ophthalmol
  • 10 Jun 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) on lipid-lowering medications appear less likely to develop retinopathy or to require treatment for it.  

Why this matters

  • Diabetic retinopathy can lead to visual impairment and blindness.

Study design

  • Retrospective analysis of 265,753 people with T2D from commercial claims data, of whom 37% were on lipid-lowering medications (80% statins, 8% fibrate, 3% combination).
  • Funding: Heed Ophthalmic Foundation.

Key results

  • Compared with 6.5% not taking lipid-lowering drugs, about 6% of patients on lipid-lowering medications had a diagnosis code for nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or diabetic macular edema or a procedural code for intravitreal injections, pars plana vitrectomy, or laser following diabetes diagnosis (P<.01>
  • Patients taking lipid-lowering medications before T2D diagnosis were less likely to:
    • Progress to any retinopathy diagnosis: HR, 0.60 (P<.01 and>
    • Receive any treatment for retinopathy: HR, 0.8 (P<.01>
  • Findings were significant at levels of the aggregate, individual diagnoses, and by treatment categories (all P<.01>
  • Statins were significantly associated with reductions in retinopathy diagnosis and treatment in all categories.
  • Fibrate use alone was associated with lower risk of retinopathy diagnosis (HR, 0.67; P<.01 but not treatment.>

Limitations

  • Limited to commercially insured patients.
  • Reliance on diagnostic and procedure codes.