High-Intensity Statins May Not Prevent Dry to Wet AMD Progression


Discussing the impact of high-intensity statin therapy on patients with dry AMD with a study investigator from Byers Eye Institute.

While some previous studies have suggested high intensive statin treatment may prevent progression from dry to wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), new data is debunking the idea it may be a panacea for all patients.

Despite presenting with a similar pathogenesis and risk factors as atherosclerosis, a study scheduled to be presented at the 2020 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting found 5 of the 21 patients treated with atorvastatin 80 mg daily progressed from dry to wet AMD over a minimum 6 month follow-up period.

With a plethora of questions surrounding the potential impact of high-intensity statin therapy in patients with dry AMD, Ahmad Al-Moujahed, MD, PhD, MPH, a resident at Byers Eye Institute of Stanford University, and a team of colleagues designed a retrospective review of data from AMD patients at Stanford University. Using a time frame of 2007-2019, investigators identified a cohort of 21 patients that met inclusion criteria.

Inclusion criteria for the study included having dry AMD, at least 6 months of follow-up, and taking atorvastatin 80 mg daily up to 6 months before, at the time of, or following a diagnosis of AMD. Initial chart review identified 1360 dry AMD patients taking atorvastatin, of which 292 were prescribed high dose atorvastatin.

Of the 21 patients, a group of 16 did not convert to wet AMD. Patients in this group had a mean age of 76.6±9.9 years, a mean follow-up time of 42.7 months after AMD diagnosis, and a mean follow-up of 31.8 months after starting atorvastatin. The remaining 5 patients included in the study did convert to wet AMD—this group had a mean age of 76.4±4.4 years and a mean follow-up time of 42.3 months after starting treatment.

Investigators highlighted 75% of patients who did not convert to wet AMD had mild AMD while 80% of the patients who did convert to wet AMD had intermediate AMD (P=.027) when starting atorvastatin. Investigators noted no statistically significant differences were observed between the 2 groups in regard to sex, age, race, smoking, cholesterol levels, hypertension, or use of aspirin or anticoagulants.

For more on the results of the study and what it can tell us about the impact of statins in patients with dry AMD, HCPLive® caught up with Al-Moujahed and that discussion is the subject of the most recent ARVO 2020 House Call.

This study, “Progression of Dry to Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration in Patients Receiving Intensive Statin Treatment,” was scheduled to be presented at ARVO 2020.

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