Background: We investigated whether antiplatelet/anticoagulant (APAC) therapy can protect patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) from the development or progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study using Longitudinal Health Insurance Database in Taiwan. A total of 73,964 type 2 diabetic patients older than 20 years old were included. Hazard ration (HR) of non-proliferative DR (NPDR), proliferative DR (PDR), and diabetic macular edema (DME) were analyzed with APAC usage as a time-dependent covariate. Age, sex, comorbidities, and medicines were further adjusted in a multi-variable model. Contributions of respective APAC was investigated with sensitivity analysis. Results: Compared with nonusers, APAC users had a lower cumulative incidence of NPDR (P < 0.001), overall incidence of NPDR (10.7 per 1000 person-years), and risk of developing NPDR (adjusted HR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.73–0.83). However, no significant differences were observed between APAC users and nonusers in the risks of PDR or DME. Hypertension, diabetic nephropathy and diabetic neuropathy were risk factors for NDPR development, while heart disease, cardiovascular disease, peripheral arterial occlusive disease, and statin usage were covariates decreasing NPDR development. Aspirin and Dipyridamole showed significant protection against NPDR development. Clopidogrel, Ticlopidine, and warfarin showed enhanced protection in combination with aspirin usage. Conclusions: APAC medications have a protective effect against NPDR development. Diabetic patients benefit from single use of aspirin or dipyridamole on prevention of NPDR.
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