Navigation Links
Glaucoma Drugs May Play Role in Longer Life

Early death risk drops with use, but other factors may contribute, experts say

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) --People who take medication to treat glaucoma appear to outlive those who don't treat the eye disease, new research has found.

However, whether the reduced risk for premature death stems from the glaucoma drugs themselves or from the individuals' overall health or even their access to health care remains unclear.

Use of glaucoma drugs poses important questions for the more than 2 million Americans with the eyesight-threatening condition, which causes steady deterioration of the optic nerve, said Dr. Joshua D. Stein, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Michigan and lead author of a report on the research, published in the February issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

"There are four or five classes of drugs for ophthalmology, and they have side effects," Stein said. "Among other things, they can affect kidney function and blood pressure, so it's important to know whether drug therapy is beneficial or detrimental to overall health."

The study, which involved 21,506 people with glaucoma or suspected glaucoma, came down strongly in favor of drug therapy. It found that the drugs do not harm overall health. And, it discovered that those who regularly took glaucoma medications had a 74 percent reduced risk for early death, compared with those who didn't take the drugs.

But Stein stressed that those numbers say nothing about whether or why regular use of glaucoma drugs lowered the chances of dying. "The type of data we are working with can't answer that question," he said.

It's possible that the medications are beneficial, acting to boost kidney function, lower blood pressure or otherwise improve general health, he said. "But the fact that all the different classes of medications have the same benefit suggests to me that it might not be the medications themselves," Stein said. "It could be the types of patients who are receiving the medications. Patients who have more life-threatening conditions are less likely to get glaucoma treatment, so perhaps they are healthier people in general. Or perhaps it is access to care. Some people who don't have access to glaucoma care have less access to medical care in general."

The new study is the latest contribution to a long-running debate about whether glaucoma itself can increase the risk for death, said Dr. Louis Pasquale, director of the glaucoma service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital. A number of studies have come to differing conclusions on the issue, said Pasquale, who has published a meta-analysis of such studies.

"When you analyze them all together, it appears that glaucoma is associated neither with premature death or later-onset death," he said.

The latest finding is a valuable contribution to the debate, Pasquale said. "Dr. Stein has opened the eyes of researchers that medications need to be taken into account when trying to understand the relationship between glaucoma and mortality," he said.

Dr. Stuart McKinnon, an associate professor of ophthalmology and neurobiology at Duke University, said the finding reinforces the belief that glaucoma medications are safe.

"If I were talking to a patient, I would be cautiously optimistic, saying that the data base shows it possibly will help you but there is no harm in taking glaucoma eyedrops or other medications," McKinnon said.

However, participants in the study included relatively few black patients, who are more likely to have glaucoma, he noted.

"In terms of statistics, it is a real outcome, but you have to be careful how you apply it," McKinnon said. "That's my bottom line."

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about glaucoma.

SOURCES: Joshua D. Stein, M.D., assistant professor, ophthalmology and visual sciences, Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Louis Pasquale, M.D., co-director, glaucoma service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston; Stuart McKinnon, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, ophthalmology and neurobiology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.; February 2010 Archives of Ophthalmology

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Luis Tiant and Sunridge International Partner to Provide Medical Relief in Cuba: Former Star Pitcher for the Red Sox and Yankees Leads the Fight Against Glaucoma
2. DR Vitamins, LLC Introduces Vision Clarity Carnosine Eye Drops to Treat Cataracts, Glaucoma, Dry Eye, or Other Eye Ailments
3. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
4. Refinement of glaucoma testing, treatment expected from US, United Kingdom study
5. AUDIO from Medialink and Pfizer: Glaucoma - The Sneak Thief of Sight
6. Treating ROP in tiny preemies; better glaucoma follow-up in urban clinic
7. Toronto researchers discover novel circulation in human eye, new glaucoma treatment target
8. Glaucoma Tied to Gene Variants in Blacks
9. OcumatRx Announces Promising Clinical Trial Results for Implant with Potential to Permanently Treat Glaucoma
10. Quark Pharmaceuticals Announces Data Indicating Potential Utility of QPI-1007 for Treatment of Glaucoma
11. Medicare expenditures decrease for glaucoma surgery as number of procedures increases
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. Jessica ... Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include Mohs ... Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn Goldstein, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, ... and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained ... Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June ... with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking ... common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to support ... as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and ... that call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then ... will restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... CAPR ), a biotechnology company focused on ... today announced that patient enrollment in its ongoing ... Duchenne) has exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. ... in the third quarter of 2016, and to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in Bogota. Colombia ... ... Sandra ... ... Astellas is a pharmaceutical company ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Experian Health, ... and transforming the patient payment and care ... innovative new products and services that will ... revenue cycle offerings. These award-winning solutions will ... workflows, remain compliant in an ever-changing environment ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: