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Aspirin associated with twofold increased risk of AMD
Aspirin associated with twofold increased risk of AMD

(January 25, 2013 - Insidermedicine)

Regular aspirin use is associated with a more than twofold increase in the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) independent of cardiovascular risk or smoking habits, according to research published online first in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Here are some recommendations for the treatment of AMD, from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

•    Management options for AMD include observation, antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements, intravitreal injection of antivascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and laser photocoagulation surgery.

•    Patients who are currently smoking should be advised to stop.

•    The risks, benefits, complications, and alternatives of the treatment should be discussed with the patient and informed consent obtained.

Researchers out of the University of Sydney conducted a prospective analysis of a population-based cohort of 2,389 participants who were examined 4 times over a 15-year period from 1992-1994 to 2007-2009. At baseline, the participant completed detailed questionnaires assessing their aspirin use, cardiovascular disease status, and AMD risk factors. The presence of AMD was assessed by grading side-by-side retinal photographs taken at each study visit.

Overall, 10.8% of participants were regular aspirin users, and of these 24.5% developed neovascular AMD. Regular aspirin users were more likely to have incident neovascular AMD, with a 15-year cumulative incidence of 9.3%, compared with 3.7% for nonusers. After adjusting for age, sex, smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index. Regular aspirin users had 2.46 times the risk of developing neovascular AMD as nonusers. This association showed a dose-response effect. There was no link between aspirin use and geographic atrophy.

Today’s research suggests that the potential to increase AMD risk should be considered when deciding on regular aspirin therapy for patients already at very high risk for AMD. The study findings are not firm enough to influence general clinical practice, however.