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    Diabetes drug could reduce the risk of open-angle glaucoma

    Study tests effect of caloric restriction-mimetic medication, metformin; may benefit other age-related eye diseases


    Take home:

    Use of metformin, a drug therapy for the treatment of diabetes, was found to be associated with reduced risk of adult-onset, open-angle glaucoma in a recent study.



    Ann Arbor, MI—A drug used for patients with diabetes could one day become an additional therapy to reduce the risk of open-angle glaucoma.

    Researchers tested this hypothesis by analyzing 10 years (2001 to 2010) of longitudinal data from a large U.S. health claims database, according to Julia E. Richards, PhD.

    They monitored patients above the age of 40 years with diabetes and who had no pre-existing OAG. They also determine whether the patients used the medication metformin.

    The study fits into the broader area of aging research and the use of caloric restriction medications, according to Dr. Richards, Harold F. Falls Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, professor of epidemiology, and director of the Glaucoma Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

    “It has long been known that caloric restriction through use of a reduced-calorie diet can extend lifespan,” she said. “Further exploration of this topic has shown that there are medications called caloric restriction-mimetic medications; because they imitate or mimic effects of calorie restriction, they can also extend lifespan. Metformin is one of these caloric mimetic medications.”

    Other studies have shown how these kinds of medications are associated with reduced risk for later-onset diseases, like some cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, according to Dr. Richards.

    “Because primary open-angle glaucoma is a late-onset disease, we hypothesized that a caloric restriction mimetic drug might be able to reduce the risk of glaucoma and that the risk reduction might involve action through one or more of these same aging pathways,” she explained.

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