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Association between amiodarone use and risk of cataract: a population-based active-comparator study.

BACKGROUND: Despite previous concerns about ocular side effects related to amiodarone, the relationship between amiodarone and cataract remains uncertain. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the potential association between amiodarone use and the subsequent risk of cataract, taking into account potential confounders.

METHODS: This population-based, active comparator-controlled cohort study utilized the data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance program and involved adults over 40 years old between 2001 and 2013. We analyzed 12 055 new amiodarone users and contrasted them with a propafenone user cohort. The primary outcome was the incidence of cataract. Inverse-probability treatment-weighting (IPTW) was further used to eliminate the potential confounding effects, and Cox proportional-hazard regression analyses were performed to calculate the risk of cataract. Serial subgroup analyses were also performed.

RESULTS: In the main analysis, amiodarone users did not exhibit a significant causal relationship in both full cohort [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR): 0.994, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.913-1.082] and IPTW cohort (IPTW-aHR 0.977, 95% CI: 0.900-1.060). Furthermore, it is important to highlight a significantly reduced risk of cataract among patients with heart failure (IPTW-aHR 0.708, 95% CI: 0.554-0.905) and during the 2-year follow-up period (IPTW-aHR 0.889, 95% CI: 0.794-0.996), implying potential advantages linked to the use of amiodarone.

CONCLUSIONS: The study found no increased risk of cataract with amiodarone, one of the most frequently used antiarrhythmic medications, compared to the use of propafenone. Future research is recommended to explore potential mechanisms and their implications for clinical practice.

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