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Cataracts

Novel and Emerging Medical Therapies and/or Drug Strategies

Combining NSAIDs with Surgical Removal of the Affected Lens

One active area of anti-cataract research is that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs work by inhibiting enzymes that promote inflammation (Kim 2010). NSAIDs have been evaluated in several clinical trials, and there is evidence that when applied locally, they can reduce inflammation after cataract surgery (Kim 2010). NSAIDs appear from some studies to be more effective than corticosteroids in certain respects, and other studies reported that the two have additive effects (Kim 2010). When administered after the surgical removal of the lens, NSAIDs have been shown to help reduce post-surgical complications (eg, excessive fluid build-up, pain, and swelling) by reducing inflammation (Wittpenn 2008; McColgin 1999). Research is ongoing to compare NSAIDs and determine which are the most effective after cataract surgery (Cho 2009; Bucci 2011; Bradley 2013).

Statin Drugs

Some early observational studies suggested an association between long-term statin use and an increased chance of developing cataracts, while others found marginal or no risks (Derby 2000; Jick 2001; Machan 2012). However, clinical research showed that statins may actually lower the risk of developing cataracts, with a 50% decrease in the risk of mainly nuclear and cortical cataracts in one study (Klein 2006; Tan 2007). Another study demonstrated that the potential beneficial effects of statins are present with longer duration of statin administration, finding protective effects against cataract surgery in patients aged 50-64 (Fong 2012). Although these discoveries may provide a new therapeutic application for statins, additional research is required to understand what formulations of statins are required to prevent cataract formation as well as how statins may prevent cataracts.