Statin Treatment Linked to Reduced Risk of Cataracts

Simvastatin plus ezetimibe linked to lower risk of cataract development versus placebo


MONDAY, Dec. 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Statin treatment is associated with reduced risk of incident cataract development, according to a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Casper N. Bang, M.D., Ph.D., from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues randomized 1,873 patients with asymptomatic aortic stenosis and no history of diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other comorbidities to 40 mg simvastatin plus 10 mg ezetimibe or placebo.

The researchers found that 3.5 percent of patients developed incident cataract during an average follow-up of 4.3 years. Simvastatin plus ezetimibe correlated with a reduction in the risk of cataract development compared with placebo, after adjustment for age, gender, prednisolone treatment, smoking, baseline low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hazard ratio, 0.56; P = 0.034). Lower in-treatment LDL cholesterol correlated with a reduced risk of incident cataract (hazard ratio, 0.78 per 1 mmol/mL lower total cholesterol; P = 0.008), in a parallel analysis substituting time-varying LDL cholesterol with randomized treatment.

"Randomized treatment with simvastatin plus ezetimibe was associated with a 44 percent lower risk of incident cataract development," the authors write. "This effect should perhaps be considered in the risk-benefit ratio of statin treatment."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, which manufactures simvastatin and ezetimibe and provided funding for the study.

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