Wet AMD Drugs: Positive Results After 5 Yearsby Joseph Saling Health Writer
After five years of treatment with a class of drugs called anti-VEGF, almost 50 percent of people with wet age-related macular degeneration still had vision that was typically good enough to drive or to read standard print, according to a study funded by the National Eye Institute.
The study of 647 people was a follow up to the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trial, which was designed to compare the anti-VEGF (anti–vascular endothelial growth factor) drugs bevacizumab (Avastin) and ranibizumab (Lucentis). The drugs were found to be equally effective in treating wet macular degeneration, also known as neovascular AMD.
The more-recent study focused on the drugs’ long-term effects. At the end of five years, half of the 647 people included in the study still had a visual score of 20/40 or better, a level considered normal.
Twenty percent had a score of 20/200 (which defines legally blind) or worse. Before anti-VEGF therapy, after two years of standard treatment, less than 15 percent of patients could expect 20/40 or better vision, and 30 to 40 percent would have ended up with vision of 20/200 or worse.
The new drugs won’t treat all forms of advanced AMD. But your ophthalmologist can help you know whether your condition makes you a candidate for anti-VEGF therapy.