A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2012 edition found that patients on a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones (or glitazones) had a two to three-fold increased risk of developing macular edema. Actos and Avandia are commonly prescribed glitazone class drugs. The study supports the importance of comprehensive diabetic retinal exams along with how important it is for patients to bring an updated list of medications to each and every exam visit.
In patients using Actos and Avandia we more aggressively look both for retinal edema but also to question the patient regarding their level of control. If macular edema is evident it can be treated. Anytime a patient experiences a change in or reduced vision they should be assessed with scanning lasers for macular edema. We try and obtain baseline retinal scans (for macular edema) on our diabetic patients taking the glitazone class of drugs.