Diabetes drug linked with reduced glaucoma risk

A commonly prescribed diabetes drug has been found to reduce the risk of open-angle glaucoma (OAG) in patients with diabetes.

Metformin hydrochloride is a medication used to help patients with type 2 diabetes manage their blood glucose levels. It mimics the effects of caloric restriction by inhibiting the release of stored glucose into the bloodstream by the liver.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Indiana University in the US looked at data for 150,016 patients with diabetes, almost 4% of which (5,893) developed OAG.

Patients who received the highest dose of the metformin – more than 1,110g over a two-year period – saw a 25% reduction in their risk of developing the condition. This, write the researchers, predicts that taking a standard 2g dose of the drug every day for two years reduces the risk of OAG by 20.8%.

The researchers write: “This study suggests that metformin may be affecting OAG risk on multiple levels…If confirmed by prospective clinical trials, these findings could lead to novel treatments for this sight-threatening disease.”

The research is published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

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