Common Diabetes Medication Lowered Rates of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

November 28, 2018

Researchers recently found that patients with type 2 diabetes taking metformin, a common diabetes medication, had a much lower rate of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

Oftentimes, inflammation and oxidative stress play a key role in the development of both diabetes and AMD. However, because metformin is known to suppress inflammation and oxidative stress, a team of researchers, led by Yu-Yen Chen, MD, and colleagues, theorized that metformin may also protect against AMD.

To test the research theory, Dr Chen and colleagues used the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database and collected data on all patients that received a type 2 diabetes diagnosis from January 2001 to December 2013. The patients were divided into two groups, including 45,524 patients who took metformin, and 22,681 who did not. 

The researchers followed the study participants for 13 years and found that patients in the metformin group had a much lower risk of developing AMD. Further, they found that half as many patients in the metformin group had AMD compared with the control group. 

“Our study is the first to reveal the protective effect of metformin on the development of AMD,” said Dr Chen. “While more study is required to determine just how metformin protects against the development of AMD, this is an exciting development for patients at risk.”

This research was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Julie Gould