Whoa Nelly!

Two new statin therapies slow down diabetic retinopthy

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans under the age of 65. A new study shows there are now two therapies that may slow down the progression of this sight robbing disease.

Dr. Emily Chew and the Action to Control Cardiovascular Disease (ACCORD) Eye Study clearly demonstrates that two treatments reduce the progression of diabetic retinopathy. The first treatments uses intensive blood sugar level controls added to statin therapy while the second uses fibrate treatment added to the statin therapy.

dailyRx Insight: Ask your doctor about diabetic retinopathy therapies.

The ACCORD Eye Study had 2,856 adults with type 2 diabetes for at least 10 years. Over a 4 year period, researchers observed the response of the blood vessels in the eye under each of the experimental treatments to decide which treatment was yielding the best outcomes.  The researchers then analyzed the effects on the eye bloody vessel of each treatment strategy.

Intensive glycemic control decreased the progression of diabetic retinopathy by around 30% compared to standard blood sugar control. Unfortunately, the patients receiving the intensive glycemic controls had a 22% higher incidence of death. In addition, compared with simvastatin treatment alone, combination lipid therapy with fenofibrate plus simvastatin also reduced disease progression by about one-third over four years.

A third experimental therapy used an intensive systolic blood pressure target of less than 120 mm Hg compared with those treated to a standard target of less than 140 mm Hg. There was no difference in diabetic retinopathy progression among the two groups of participants.

Enhancing statin treatment with either intensive glycemic control or fibrate treatment slowed down the progression of diabetic retinopathy by 30%.

Nearly 26 million individuals are affected by diabetes in the United States each year, with about seven million people going undiagnosed. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease with no cure in which a person has high blood sugar because the body does not produce enough insulin (Type 1) or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced (Type 2). There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Several groups of oral drugs, are effective for Type 2, such as Glucophage®, Glucotrol®, and Prandin®, among many others. The therapeutic combination in Type 2 may eventually include injected insulin as symptoms worsen. Along with the presence of physical symptoms, a common blood test known as the A1c can test for the disease.

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Review Date: 
March 27, 2011
Last Updated:
March 29, 2011