Statins could provide protective effect against AMD, study indicates

April 6, 2008

Statins may have a protective role in the etiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A retrospective study, carried out by Girlish Chandra, MD, of East London, UK, found that there were fewer patients with wet and dry AMD following treatment to lower lipid levels compared with patients not treated with the statin.

Statins may have a protective role in the etiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Aretrospective study, carried out by Girlish Chandra, MD, of East London, UK, found that therewere fewer patients with wet and dry AMD following treatment to lower lipid levels comparedwith patients not treated with the statin.

The study included 300 patients (150 men, 150 women) aged 60 to 95 years. Patients were treatedwith 10 or 20 mg of atorvastatin (Lipitor, Pfizer), depending on their lipid profiles from 2000to 2007. They were matched with patients not treated with atorvastatin, according to Dr.Chandra.

In the group treated with the statin, 15 of 300 (5%) patients had dry AMD, two patients (0.67%)had wet AMD, and 33 (11%) had drusen and colloid bodies. In the control untreated group, 36 of300 (12%) patients had dry AMD, 12 patients (4%) had wet AMD, and 66 (22%) had drusen andcolloid bodies. The group treated with the statin had a total cholesterol level that wassignificantly lower compared with the treated group.

"The treated group had a lower number of patients with wet AMD and a lower number of patientswith dry AMD, suggesting that the treatment had an effect or prevented development of AMD," Dr.Chandra said.

"These preliminary observational results suggest that lipid-lowering drugs may have aprotective effect against AMD," Dr. Chandra concluded. "The results of this study warrantevaluation of this possible contribution of statins."