Oct 30, 2021
Those taking the antidepressant drug fluoxetine, branded as Prozac, have a significantly reduced risk of developing progressive age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in those over the age of 50. Researchers at the University of Virginia analyzed data from two health insurance databases covering more than 100 million persons after first studying the process leading to AMD and blindness in a mouse model.
The investigators, studying a group of already FDA approved drugs in the lab, showed that fluoxetine uniquely inhibits the inflammatory process leading to retinal degeneration due to its binding with an inflammatory molecule NLRP3-ASC. Armed with this laboratory data, they wanted to see if fluoxetine conferred any clinical benefits for patients with AMD.
Using insurance databases that pinpointed those over the age of 50 with AMD who were taking Prozac and those who were not, analysis revealed that taking fluoxetine significantly slowed the AMD degenerative process. Based on these results, the UVA ophthalmologists are looking forward to a clinical trial of fluoxetine in AMD patients.
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