New research claims that blood pressure drug Candesartan could cut the risk of people with diabetes developing retinopathy, a condition that can lead to blindness.The study found that people with Type 1 diabetes who were given the drug were almost a fifth less likely to develop the condition.
Scientists tested the effects of the blood pressure drug on almost 2,000 patients. The research also showed a small slow-down in the progression of the disease in those who already had retinopathy.
Safe and effective new medication welcomed
"Diabetes UK welcomes any research that has the potential to bring about safe and effective new medication that will help people with retinopathy," said Libby Dowling, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.
“Currently the only recommended treatments for retinopathy are invasive treatments such as laser treatment or surgery. Treatment in the form of drugs would potentially not be as traumatic and time-consuming.
“Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK as a result of retinopathy. Research shows that if retinopathy is treated early and adequately, blindness can be prevented in 90 per cent of cases.
“Diabetes UK is calling on the NHS to ensure that everyone aged 12 and over, diagnosed with diabetes has free retinal screening with a digital camera every year. This simple screening process really could save the sight of hundreds of thousands of people.”
The study, carried out by researchers at Imperial College in London, gave 1, 711 patients Candesartan and another 710 a placebo.