Hypertension, antihypertensive medications use and risk of age-related macular degeneration in California Teachers Cohort

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Sustained and inadequately controlled hypertension can promote the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) through multiple biologic pathways. Epidemiologic studies of high blood pressure, antihypertensive therapies, and the risk of AMD thus far have been inconclusive. However, few studies evaluated risks according to the use of different classes of antihypertensive drugs or took combinations of use into account. We performed a prospective cohort study by linking the California Teachers Study (CTS) cohort (N = 88 481) to statewide hospital discharge records up to December 31, 2012. History of high blood pressure, regular use of antihypertensive medications, and comprehensive risk factor information was collected via self-administered questionnaires at baseline in 1995–1996, and information on specific classes of antihypertensive drugs was provided by a subsample of CTS participants who completed a follow-up questionnaire in 2000. We identified 1762 female teachers with AMD during 14.8 years of follow-up on average. Applying Cox proportional hazard regression, we estimated increased risks of AMD among women treated for hypertension at baseline (HR = 1.15, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.30); the magnitude of the association increased with longer duration of antihypertensive treatment. In the subsample with more specific information on type of medication use, we estimated a 45% increased risk of AMD among women receiving diuretics as monotherapy compared to women with medications more potent than diuretics (HR = 1.45, 95% CI 1.10, 1.90). In women treated with a combination of antihypertensive drugs, we observed no increased risk of AMD for any individual class of drugs.

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All of the data associated with this publication and in the California Teachers Study are available for research use. The California Teachers Study welcomes all such inquiries and encourages individuals to visit https://www.calteachersstudy.org/for-researchers.


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The California Teachers Study and the research reported in this publication were supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number U01-CA199277; P30-CA033572; P30-CA023100; UM1-CA164917; and R01-CA077398. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health. The authors would like to thank the California Teachers Study Steering Committee that is responsible for the formation and maintenance of the Study within which this research was conducted. A full list of California Teachers Study team members is available at https://www.calteachersstudy.org/team.


The parent study (the CTS) was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers U01-CA199277, P30-CA033572, P30-CA023100, UM1-CA164917, and R01-CA077398.

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Correspondence to Julia E. Heck.

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Xu, X., Ritz, B., Coleman, A. et al. Hypertension, antihypertensive medications use and risk of age-related macular degeneration in California Teachers Cohort. J Hum Hypertens (2019) doi:10.1038/s41371-019-0269-9

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