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Physician, patient, and caregiver experience of different wet age-related macular degeneration anti-VEGF treatment regimens in Japan: a qualitative assessment

Authors Iida T, Ishii K

Received 27 August 2016

Accepted for publication 3 November 2016

Published 15 December 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 2505—2513

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S120803

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Tomohiro Iida,1 Keirei Ishii2

1Department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo, 2Health Economics and Outcomes Research, Bayer Yakuhin Ltd., Osaka, Japan

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to monitor anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) treatment regimens for wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) in clinical practice and to determine how they impact the physician, patient, and caregiver treatment experience.
Materials and methods: This was a qualitative analysis based on semistructured interviews with 20 ophthalmologists who had practiced both pro re nata (PRN) and treat-and-extend (T&E) anti-VEGF regimens for wAMD. Interview questions were constructed to assess how the different regimens affected patient and caregiver experiences (in the opinion of the ophthalmologist) in addition to the ophthalmologist’s own experience. The interview included questions relating to 1) issues and benefits of PRN and T&E; 2) logistical and operational issues of introducing proactive therapy, especially T&E, to PRN practice; and 3) actions taken to handle the issues raised in 2).
Results: A total of 18 interview results were eligible for analysis. The study demonstrated that the benefits of T&E compared with PRN included decreased burden of patient consultations, decreased patient and caregiver emotional burden, and a sustained period of macular dryness. The issues associated with T&E were increased number of injections and financial burden from prolonged treatment duration. The ophthalmologists also experienced difficulty explaining the significance of proactive injections to patients. Countermeasures to operational issues experienced by ophthalmologists varied by practice.
Conclusion: Patients, caregivers, and the practicing ophthalmologists experienced benefits associated with a T&E regimen. However, in order to encourage better understanding of the T&E regimen, including its smooth implementation and significance for patients, a formal T&E treatment guideline providing standard practice should be considered.

Keywords: wet age-related macular degeneration, anti-vascular growth factor, anti-VEGF as-needed, anti-VEGF treat-and-extend, wAMD patient experience

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