Study: Asthma drug increases risk of cataracts in elderly

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Anti-asthmatic medications used to treat asthma or lung disease in the elderly may increase the risk of developing cataracts, according to a new study.

Canadian researchers studied more than 100,000 elderly people with either asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for more than 14 years. Those who took inhaled corticosteroids for asthma raised their risk of developing cataracts by 24% compared to patients who did not use the drugs, according to study author Dr. Samy Suissa, an epidemiologist at McGill University Health Center in Montreal.

The elderly should continue to take these medications but should try to reduce the dose of inhaled corticosteroids as much as possible, researchers said. The study was published in the European Respiratory Journal.