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General Health : Drug News Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Statins linked to eye disorders
By Sue Mueller
Dec 16, 2008 - 10:36:03 AM

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Tuesday Dec 16, 200 ( -- A new study published in the Dec. 1 issue of Ophthalmology suggests that taking statins may increase risk of eye problems.  


The suggestion came after F.W. Fraunfelder, MD, of the Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University reviewed all the reports on statin-associated eye disorders such as double vision (diplopia) drooping of the upper eyelid (ptosis) and loss of full range of motion of the eyes (ophthalmoplegia.


Cases of eye disorders reported in the databases of the National Registry of Drug-Induced Ocular Side Effects, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Drug Administration included 143 males, 91 females and 22 persons with gender unspecified.


The researchers found that adverse effects developed on average 8.3 months after the patients started the therapy. Overall, 23 persons lost eye range of motion, 8 suffered ptosis and 18 ptosis together with double vision.


The link between use of statins and eye problems is plausible because the cholesterol-lowering drugs are known to cause skeletal muscle disorders in some patients.  


But from the ADR reports, the researchers could not know which eye muscles were involved and the time required for patients to fully recover from their eye disorders after discontinuation of statin therapy. reports that eye disorders occur to 0.1 percent of statin users and the rate is 0.5 to 2.5 percent when gemfibrozil another cholesterol-lowering drug is used simultaneously.


Many people take statins to lower their cholesterol levels in an effect to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.  However, many lifestyle parameters such as a healthy diet can be easily modified to lower cholesterol and heart risk without any side effect.

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