Cataracts and statins. A disproportionality analysis using data from VigiBase

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2019 Dec;109:104509. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2019.104509. Epub 2019 Oct 26.


The basis of the association between statin use and cataract has been explored using the World Health Organization (WHO) global database of individual case safety reports (ICSRs) for drug monitoring (VigiBase) through January 2019. The reporting odds ratios (RORs) as a measure of disproportionality for reported cataracts and individual statins have been calculated. Subgroup analyses according statin lipophilicity, sex, and age groups have been performed. Moreover, RORs have been calculated for non-statin lipid lowering drugs. An increased disproportionality have been found for most individual statins lovastatin: [ROR: 14.80, 95% confidence interval (CI): 13.30, 16.46)], atorvastatin (ROR: 3.48, 95% CI 3.19-3.80), pravastatin (ROR: 3.15, 95% CI: 2.54-3.90), rosuvastatin (ROR: 2.90, 95% CI: 2.53-3.31), simvastatin (ROR: 2.27, 95%CI: 1.99-2.60), fluvastatin (ROR: 2.03, 95% CI: 1.33-3.08) and statins (overall) ROR: 3.66, 95% CI:3.46-3.86). Increased disproportionality for cataract and statins (drug-class) have been found regardless of statin lipophilicity, sex and group age (more or less than 65 years old). No disproportionality was found for other lipid-lowering drugs (ezetimibe, fibrates or PCSK9 inhibitors). These findings suggest an increased risk of cataract associated with statins as a drug-class. Further studies to characterize the risk are advised. Benefits and potential harms should be considered before starting treatment with statins.

Keywords: Anticholesteremic agents; Cataract; Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors; Pharmacovigilance; Statins.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / chemically induced
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Drug Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pharmacovigilance*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Young Adult


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors