Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) could promote age-related macular degeneration
A US study now shows that medication not only has advantages but also risks. Accordingly, regular intake of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) could favor the development of a wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A Dutch study came to a similar conclusion at the beginning of the year.
Acetylsalicylic acid leads to increased risk of AMD With wet or neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the formation of pathological blood vessels in the macula leads to a rapid loss of vision in the area of the sharpest vision. Eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in old age.
Paulus de Jong from the Dutch Institute of Neuroscience in Amsterdam earlier this year made a connection between regular intake of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and this disease as part of an analysis of the European Eye Study. For the study, the data of 4,600 seniors in the period from 2000 to 2003 were collected and evaluated. As it turned out, one in three suffered from the dry form of the AMD and approximately every 30th from the wet AMD. The latter gave ASA twice as often as the others. After considering gender, age, and other cardiovascular risks associated with AMD, De Jong concluded that ASA patients are twice as likely to become ill as others.
Second study sees together acetylsalicylic acid and eye disease Barbara Klein from the University of Wisconsin and her team have now re-examined the relationship between the drug and the eye disease. As part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, 6,000 inhabitants of a small town have been regularly examined by an ophthalmologist since 1987. The study participants also provided information about their lifestyle. An analysis of the data from 4,926 participants who had no evidence of AMD at baseline was then performed.
As it turned out, 117 people developed late and 512 early AMS within the following 14.8 years. The US researchers came to a similar conclusion to de Jong: Only in patients with late AMD (subtype: wet AMD) could a connection with ASA be associated, as Klein and her colleagues in the Journal of the American Medical Association " to report.
Acetylsalicylic acid is not the cause of the eye disease According to experts, the evidence of the Dam Eye Study is higher than that of the European Eye Study, because the study participants were observed prospectively over a longer period of time. The analysis of the European Eye Study is based only on a cross-sectional examination, it says in the German Medical Gazette. But the American study also fails to provide evidence. Most patients would have taken ASA to prevent cardiovascular disease. It is likely that many are secondary prevention after an initial event. Cardiovascular diseases are, however, a risk factor for AMD. As a result, ASS could not be the cause of AMD but only another marker for an increased risk of eye disease.
Treatment options for wet AMD The wet form of AMD leads to a rapid loss of vision because pathological blood vessels sprout in the macula. Ophthalmologists therefore try to force the vessels back by administering intravitreal surgical medication (IVOM) or by laser treatment or photodynamic therapy to stop the disease from progressing. Lost vision can only partially or completely be restored in some cases. This requires early therapy with injections of vascular growth inhibitors (anti-VEGFs, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor) into the vitreous (IVOM). (sb)
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