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Statins Increase Risk of Cataracts: Study

A recent study has identified an increased risk for the development of cataracts for users of statins. While this risk is significant, it is still believed to be relatively small and will likely not influence clinical practice.

Published in JAMA Ophthalmology, the paper by Jessica Leuschen and colleagues relied on data gathered from a military healthcare system. They performed a propensity-analysis to evaluate 6,972 propensity-matched pairs of patients who used statins and patients not using statins. According to the authors, statin users face a 9% higher risk for developing cataracts than non-statin users. Multiple secondary analyses confirm this association.

The authors stated that the use of a military setting means that their study was less likely to show a bias between health care accessibility and use.

According to Leuschen and the other study authors, “The risk for cataract is increased among statin users as compared with nonusers. The risk-benefit ratio of statin use, specifically for primary prevention, should be carefully weighed, and further studies are warranted.”

Despite this recent conclusion, many experts hesitate to draw a firm correlation between the use of statins and cataracts. JoAnne Foody said in a comment for NEJM Journal Watch, “Data on whether statins increase risk for cataracts remain inconclusive and conflicting. For now clinicians should continue to weigh individual patient … benefits and potential harms in determining whether statins are the right choice for a given patient.”

Most experts agree that the benefits of statin therapy are so significant for most patients that they outweigh the relatively small risk of developing cataracts, especially since cataracts treatment is safe and very effective.

Statins, such as Lipitor and Crestor, have recently become the subject of personal injury lawsuits based on claims that side effects of these medications caused serious injury or death to patients. If you or someone you love has suffered as a result of statins side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the personal injury lawyers at the Berkowitz and Hanna LLC for a free legal consultation.