Treating diabetes with a class of drugs, called glitazone, leads to a "modest" increase in the risk of diabetic macular oedema (DME), which is a common vision-threatening complication, according to a study.
Diabetic macular oedema is a common diabetes complication, with swelling and fluid build-up in the retina leading to progressive visual loss.
Drs. Donald S. Fong and Richard Contreras of Southern California Permanente Medical Group looked into a database of about 170,000 patients with diabetes, and analysed the link between glitazones and the development of DME.
They identified 996 patients who were diagnosed with DME during 2006.
Patients who took glitazones were found to be 2.6 times more likely to develop DME than those who had not taken these drugs.
DME risk remained 60 percent higher for glitazone users even after further adjustment for other factors.
In earlier studies, glitazones has been linked to problems related to fluid retention and oedema (swelling), including heart failure.
Fluid retention from heart failure or other diseases can worsen DME.
In the study, most of the glitazone users were taking pioglitazone (Actos).
Other studies have linked rosiglitazone (Avandia)-the only other approved glitazone drug-to a possible increase in the risk of myocardial infarction.
The study provides confirmation in a very large sample of diabetic patients that glitazones are "modestly associated" with DME.
The researchers concluded: "When treating patients with DME, ophthalmologists should consider the role of the glitazone class of drugs."
The study has been published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology. (ANI)