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Inhaled steroid use raises cataract risk

Long-term use of inhaled steroids increases the risk of cataract, suggests research in almost 31,000 UK patients.

The risk was dose-dependent, with patients taking inhaled steroid doses of over 1,600µg daily at 69 per cent increased risk compared with non-users, after adjusting for other risk factors.

There was an 18 per cent increase in cataract risk in those taking 400-1600µg

daily but low-dose inhaled steroids (up to 400µg daily) did not increase the risk.

Long-term users were at highest risk. Patients who had had more than 40 prescriptions had a 28 per cent higher risk than non-users but the increased risk was only 3 per cent among those who had had fewer than 10 prescriptions, according to a report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (October).

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