Is medication use associated with the incidence of early age-related maculopathy? Pooled findings from 3 continents.Ophthalmology. 2004 Jun; 111(6):1169-75.O
To investigate whether there is an association between the use of medication and the incidence of early age-related maculopathy (ARM).
Pooled data from 3 prospective, population-based cohort studies.
Subjects without early and late ARM at baseline who participated in the follow-up of the Beaver Dam Eye Study (n = 3012), the Rotterdam Study (n = 3434), and the Blue Mountains Eye Study (n = 2203).
Stereoscopic color fundus photographs of all participants were graded according to a standardized protocol. At baseline, current use of prescription and over-the-counter medication was assessed by interview, and the drug name was confirmed at the research centers. Procedures and definitions were similar at both baseline and follow-up across the 3 study sites.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Incidence of early ARM, defined as the presence at follow-up of either soft distinct drusen with pigmentary changes or soft indistinct or reticular drusen.
In the pooled cohort, 53.3% of participants used at least one of the medications selected for this study. Within a mean period of 5.6 years, a total of 683 subjects developed early ARM. Users of antihypertensive medication in general, and beta-blockers in particular, had a borderline statistically significant increased risk of early ARM (odds ratio [OR] for beta-blockers, 1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-1.6) when adjusted for systolic (or diastolic) blood pressure and other confounders. A protective effect of borderline significance was found among women using hormone replacement therapy (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-1.0) and in persons using tricyclic antidepressants (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-1.0). In contrast with beta-blockers, the direction and magnitude of the association with hormone replacement therapy and tricyclic antidepressants were inconsistent among the 3 study populations.
Pooled data from 3 population-based studies showed no strong associations between medication use and the incidence of early ARM. Of borderline significance were a slightly increased risk among users of beta-blockers and a reduced risk among users of hormone replacement therapy and users of tricyclic antidepressants. Although beta-blocker use could be a proxy for systemic hypertension, these findings warrant further investigations, preferably including information on the dosage and duration of drug exposure.