Treating diabetic macular edema with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) may lead to improvements in diabetic retinopathy severity for up to two years, particularly in patients with nonproliferative disease, researchers say.
Adam Glassman, principal investigator of the coordinating center for the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (, told Reuters Health by email the condition “remains the leading cause of vision loss in the working age population of the U.S. and other developed countries.”
Although research has shown that anti-VEGF therapy for diabetic macular edema affects diabetic retinopathy severity and worsening, it was not known whether the effects differ across anti-VEGF agents.
To investigate, Glassman and colleagues analyzed data from a comparative effectiveness trial for diabetic macular edema in patients receiving two years of anti-VEGF therapy.
A total of 650 participants (three quarters with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, NPDR; close to half, women; mean age, 61) were randomized in 2012 to 2013 to aflibercept, bevacizumab or ranibizumab. The study concluded in 2015.
At one year, among 423 NPDR eyes, 31.2% treated with aflibercept, 22.1% with bevacizumab and 37.7% with ranibizumab showed improvement in diabetic retinopathy severity, researchers reported online April 27 in JAMA Ophthalmology.
Adjusted differences between treatments were: 11.7% for aflibercept versus bevacizumab; 8.9% for ranibizumab versus bevacizumab, and 2.9% for aflibercept versus ranibizumab.
After two years of treatment, 24.8% of eyes in the aflibercept group, 22.1% in the bevacizumab group and 31.0% in the ranibizumab group showed improvement, with no differences between treatment groups.
From Reuters Health
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