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The clinical utility of aflibercept for diabetic macular edema

Authors Stewart M

Received 19 May 2015

Accepted for publication 17 August 2015

Published 18 September 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 473—482

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S72792

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Geeta Negi

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ming-Hui Zou


Michael W Stewart

Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo School of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL, USA

Abstract: The treatment of center-involving diabetic macular edema (DME) has improved because of the proven efficacy of drugs that inhibit the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The newest anti-VEGF drug, aflibercept, has recently been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of center-involving DME and for diabetic retinopathy in eyes with DME. In the pivotal Phase III VISTA and VIVID trials, intravitreal aflibercept 2 mg injections every 4 or 8 weeks (after 5 monthly loading doses) produced superior gains in BCVA compared to laser/sham injections. In the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network Protocol T trial, which featured monthly anti-VEGF monotherapy for 6 months, followed by monthly pro re nata anti-VEGF injections with laser rescue therapy from months 6 through 12, aflibercept 2 mg monthly was superior to bevacizumab 1.25 mg and ranibizumab 0.5 mg in eyes with BCVA of 20/50 or worse (aflibercept versus bevacizumab: P<0.001; aflibercept versus ranibizumab: P=0.003), but the three regimens were comparable for eyes with VA of 20/40 or better. Only in the 20/50 or worse subgroup did aflibercept achieve clinical superiority (>5 letter difference) to bevacizumab. Each treatment regimen led to significant macular thinning, with aflibercept being superior to bevacizumab in both visual acuity subgroups (P<0.001 for each), but it was not statistically superior to ranibizumab in either group. In diabetic patients, aflibercept has an excellent safety profile that does not appear to differ from laser/sham or other VEGF inhibitory drugs.

Keywords: aflibercept, bevacizumab, diabetic macular edema, ranibizumab, vascular endothelial growth factor

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