Glaucoma Drugs Associated With Lower Mortality

Study suggests patients have significantly lower odds of dying if they use any glaucoma drug

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Among glaucoma patients, the use of any class of glaucoma drug is associated with a significantly lower likelihood of dying, according to a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Joshua D. Stein, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor conducted a longitudinal study of 21,506 glaucoma patients aged 40 years and above using data from 2003 to 2007 to estimate the odds of mortality associated with different glaucoma medications used alone or in combination.

There were 237 deaths during the study period, and patients using any class of glaucoma medication had a 74 percent lower risk of mortality compared to those who used no medication, the researchers found. The association occurred whether patients were using, for example, a topical β-antagonist or a prostaglandin analogue, as well as for patients using a combination of glaucoma medications, the investigators discovered.

"The observed findings may also reflect differences in beneficiaries' access to care," the authors write. "Although everyone in this cohort had at least some form of insurance and had visited an eye care professional at least once (to receive their glaucoma diagnosis), some beneficiaries may have been limited in their ability to receive continued glaucoma care and, similarly, to receive timely treatment or preventive care for potentially life-threatening conditions."

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