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Ranibizumab: the evidence of its therapeutic value in neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Authors Kaiser P

Published 15 December 2007 Volume 2007:2(4)


Peter K. Kaiser

Cole Eye Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Introduction: Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe, irreversible visual impairment in people over 60 years of age. Neovascular AMD is characterized by abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina, specifically the macula. These vessels leak blood and fluids, damaging the retina and its photoreceptors, resulting in permanent loss of central vision. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) has been shown to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of neovascular AMD. In the US, ranibizumab, a VEGF-A blocker, is approved and indicated for the treatment of patients with neovascular AMD.

Aims: To review the clinical evidence for ranibizumab in the treatment of neovascular AMD.

Evidence review: Phase III clinical trial data have established ranibizumab as a safe and well-tolerated treatment for neovascular AMD. Monthly intravitreal injections of ranibizumab result in a statistically significantly greater proportion of patients losing <15 letters of visual acuity (VA) and statistically significant increases in the mean number of letters gained compared with controls. Anatomically, ranibizumab results in stabilization in the mean area of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and statistically significant reductions in the mean area of leakage compared with controls. Although there is limited economic evidence available, ranibizumab therapy for neovascular AMD appears to deliver a significant degree of value gain in terms of quality of life when compared with other neovascular AMD interventions.

Place in therapy: Clinical evidence establishes ranibizumab as a first-line therapy option for virtually all treatable neovascular AMD patients. Updating neovascular AMD treatment guidelines to reflect the evidence base for ranibizumab as a preferred first-line therapy would be beneficial for physicians in making informed treatment choices and ultimately helping to ensure the best care for patients.

Key words: ranibizumab, evidence, neovascular age-related macular degeneration

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