Drug Linked to Cataract Surgery Problems
Medical groups warn prostate drug linked to
cataract surgery complications
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2006
(AP) Patients taking a widely prescribed
prostate drug should alert their eye doctors before undergoing
cataract surgery to avoid complications, several medical groups said
Advance warning can allow surgeons to modify their
technique during the common operation and avoid complications seen
in patients who take Flomax and similar drugs to treat enlargement
of the prostate, the groups said.
The drugs, called
alpha-blockers, appear to impair a muscle in the iris, the colored
portion of the eye. The iris must be stimulated during surgery to
replace the clouded lens of the eye to allow the opening in its
center, the pupil, to dilate. The drugs seem to cause the iris to
unexpectedly flap or billow.
Any unexpected movement during
surgery can cause injuries to the iris and other complications, said
Dr. David F. Chang, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the
University of California, San Francisco and a spokesman for the
American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Surgeons can use tiny
hooks to keep the pupil open or administer stronger dilating
medicines directly inside the eye to accommodate the problem, called
intraoperative floppy iris syndrome, Chang said.
results from a recent study suggest there are no more complications
following modified surgery on patients taking Flomax compared to
operations on patients who don't take Flomax or similar drugs. The
drugs typically are taken by men, although they are prescribed to
some women for urinary retention.
cataract surgery do not need to stop taking the drugs, the American
Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and
Refractive Surgery and the American Urological Association said in a
The drugs' labels, approved by the Food and
Drug Administration, already mention the potential
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