Actos, other thiazolidinediones may increase macular edema risk.

The New York Times (6/12, O’Connor) “Well” blog reported, “A popular class of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of vision problems,” according to a study published online June 11 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. After following some 103,000 patients with type 2 diabetes for about 10 years, researchers found that thiazolidinediones “may increase the risk of macular edema, or swelling in the central part of the retina, which can result in blindness in one or both eyes.”

“The drugs that fall into this group include Avandia [rosiglitazone] and Actos [pioglitazone],” HealthDay (6/12, Reinberg) noted.

MedPage Today (6/12, Phend) pointed out, “Incidence of diabetic macular edema was 1.3% at one year on a thiazolidinedione (TZD) compared with just 0.2% among type 2 diabetes patients not on one of those agents.” In fact, “the risk remained 2.3 times higher out to 10 years of follow-up after adjustment for use of other diabetes and cardiovascular drugs, glucose control, and other factors,” the study found. “The glitazone drugs work by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR- gamma), which are also found in the retinal vasculature and may contribute to fluid retention there,” researchers theorized. Medscape (6/12, Garcia) also covered the story.