East Hanover, NJ – May, 26 2009 – A drug commonly used to treat prostate problems is linked to serious complications after cataract surgery, according to new research. In this week’s issue of JAMA, a study looked at a group of 96,128 men, ages 66 and older, who had cataract surgery. Among those who had taken Flomax in the two weeks before surgery, 7.5% had a serious complication like retinal detachment or inflammation of the eye. Only 2.7% of patients who hadn’t recently taken Flomax experienced such complications. The authors concluded: “Flomax exposure is associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications concurs with prior studies of intraoperative adverse events. We believe that this is the first large study with an adequate study design to describe this effect and provide a population-based risk estimate. It is unclear whether drug discontinuation prior to surgery reduces this risk. Because the combination of cataract surgery and tamsulosin exposure is relatively common, patients should be properly apprised of the risks of drug therapy and preoperative systems should focus on the identification of tamsulosin use by patients. In this way, surgeons can plan and prepare for a potentially more complicated procedure or refer to someone with more experience.” Cary M Silverman, MD, Medical Director of EyeCare 20/20 in East Hanover, NJ calls for a change in the practice patterns associated with the prescribing of Flomax and similar medications. In a letter to the Editor in this month’s issue of EyeNet, a publication of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, he asks that: “ If the urologist is considering starting a patient on an alpha blocker to treat urinary symptoms, a baseline exam from the ophthalmologist should be considered prior to treatment. If a cataract is detected, it might make sense to treat the cataract prior to the initiation of alpha blocker therapy. This would go a long way toward minimizing the morbidity in these patients.” Silverman has started a petition among ophthalmologists in an attempt to bring about this change in practice patterns. EyeCare 20/20 Medical Director, Cary M. Silverman, M.D. specializes in innovative LASIK vision correction, state-of-the-art refractive cataract surgery, as well as an array of other refractive surgery options for patients who are not candidates for LASIK.
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