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Risk of Cataract Surgery and Age-Related Macular Degeneration After Initiation of Denosumab vs Zoledronic Acid for Osteoporosis: A Multi-Database Cohort Study

Hemin Lee 1, Yinzhu Jin 1, Miin Roh 2, Theodore N Tsacogianis 1, Sangshin Park 3, Nam-Kyong Choi 4, Seoyoung C Kim 5 6

DOI: 10.1007/s40266-020-00745-2

Background and objective: There is a relative lack of head-to-head comparisons of denosumab against other osteoporosis drugs on safety. We aimed to explore ocular outcomes in patients with osteoporosis initiating denosumab vs zoledronic acid.

Methods: We conducted a cohort study using claims data (2010-15) from two large US commercial insurance databases including patients with osteoporosis who were aged 50 years or older and initiators of denosumab or zoledronic acid. The primary outcomes were (1) receipt of cataract surgery and development of (2) wet age-related macular degeneration and (3) dry age-related macular degeneration within 365 days after initiation of denosumab vs zoledronic acid. Propensity score fine stratification and weighting were used to control for potential confounding, and we calculated the incidence rate and hazard ratio for each outcome in the cohorts. The estimates from the two databases were combined with a fixed-effects model meta-analysis.

Results: The study cohort included 50,821 denosumab and 67,471 zoledronic acid initiators. In the propensity score-weighted analysis, compared to zoledronic acid use, denosumab was associated with a modestly decreased risk of undergoing cataract surgery (hazard ratio 0.91; 95% confidence interval 0.85-0.98) but not with the risk of wet age-related macular degeneration (hazard ratio 1.29; 95% confidence interval 0.99-1.70) or dry age-related macular degeneration (hazard ratio 1.03; 95% confidence interval 0.98-1.09).

Conclusions: In this large population-based cohort study of 118,292 patients with osteoporosis, initiation of denosumab was associated with a modestly decreased risk of cataract surgery vs zoledronic acid. The risk of age-related macular degeneration was similar between the two drugs.