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Symposium to address dynamics between diabetes treatments and eye health


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2 minutes

Risa Wolf, MD
Risa Wolf, MD

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of vision loss for people with diabetes, according to the National Eye Institute, and managing treatment of both diabetes and diabetic retinopathy requires health care providers to consider how one will affect the other. A symposium at the 83rd Scientific Sessions will highlight new treatments and their effects.

Doc, Is My GLP-1 Med Making My Sight Worse? New Considerations in Management of Diabetic Retinopathy will take place on Monday, June 26, at 3:15 p.m. PT in Ballroom 20A-C of the San Diego Convention Center. This session also will be available via livestream for registered meeting participants.

Risa Wolf, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, will talk about novel diabetes therapies, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, and how they affect diabetic retinopathy.

GLP-1 receptor agonists and other, newer medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes have had a significant impact on improvements in glycemic control and may contribute to needing less insulin for those who use it, Dr. Wolf said. But, she noted, there have been some reports in the past few years that have suggested there could be a worsening or progression of diabetic retinopathy with these drugs.

“The use of GLP-1s in general has expanded tremendously, not just for type 2 diabetes, but also for obesity and weight loss,” Dr. Wolf said. “With all those benefits, we want to make sure it isn’t making something else worse.”

Investigators began to take a look at GLP-1 receptor agonists during secondary analyses of prospective trial data. That data pointed to potential progression of diabetic retinopathy, with the caveat that the data came from trials that were not necessarily designed to look at that end point, she explained.

“Now, scientists are scouring databases, retrospectively and also prospectively, to see whether there is an association and adding this as an endpoint to find out if this is a true association,” Dr. Wolf said.

Dr. Wolf will review some of the conflicting evidence related to GLP-1 receptor agonists, as well as data regarding SGLT2 inhibitors and DPP-4 inhibitors, as they are also options in the toolkit for type 2 diabetes management. She will also present preliminary data from her research group in conjunction with collaborators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the relationship between some of these medications and diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.

Quan Dong Nguyen, MD, MSc, Professor of Ophthalmology at the Byers Eye Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, will discuss new therapies for diabetic retinopathy and how they compare with treatment options health care providers already have.