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Association of treatment adherence with real-life VA outcomes in AMD, DME, and BRVO patients

Authors Ehlken C, Helms M, Böhringer D, Agostini HT, Stahl A

Received 13 September 2017

Accepted for publication 13 November 2017

Published 20 December 2017 Volume 2018:12 Pages 13—20


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Christoph Ehlken,1,2 Mandy Helms,1 Daniel Böhringer,1 Hansjürgen T Agostini,1 Andreas Stahl1

1Ophthalmology, Eye Center, Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, 2Ophthalmology, Eye Center, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Germany

Purpose: Real-life clinical outcomes of patients treated with anti-VEGF drugs for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), or macular edema secondary to branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) are often inferior to results from randomized clinical trials. This observational cohort study investigates treatment adherence and real-life clinical outcomes within the first year of treatment.
Patients and methods: A total of 708 treatment-naïve patients (466 nAMD, 134 DME, and 108 BRVO) were included. Patients were followed with a PRN treatment protocol with three intravitreal injections (IVIs) and a series of 3 monthly injections in case of persistent or recurrent disease activity, as determined by monthly follow-up exams including optical coherence tomographies. Occurrence of gaps of >56 days between treatments or follow-up (nonadherence [NA]) and the reasons for NA (patient- or center-associated) as well as disease activity within the first 12 months of treatment were analyzed. Visual acuity (VA) as well as numbers and dates of optical coherence tomography and IVI were extracted from medical records.
Results: NA occurred significantly more often in patients with DME (44%) than nAMD (32%) or BRVO (25%, p<0.01 between groups). NA was mainly patient-associated (nAMD: 80.0%, DME: 83.1%, BRVO: 70.4%, p=0.38 between groups). Patients with nAMD and DME and appropriate treatment/follow-up adherence had a better chance of significantly gaining or maintaining VA, respectively (19.9% vs 12.0% with 3-line-gain in nAMD and 1.3% vs 15.3% 3-line loss in DME; each p<0.05). NA did not correlate with VA outcomes in BRVO (3-line gain 30.9% vs 48.1% and 3-line loss 8.6% vs 7.4%; p>0.05).
Conclusion: NA to treatment and follow-up regimens is a common problem in the management of patients with AMD and DME and limits clinical treatment outcomes under real-life conditions. Patients with DME have the highest risk of patient-associated NA, associated with a higher risk for significant VA loss.

AMD, RVO, DME, adherence, anti-VEGF, PRN, follow-up

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