BACKGROUND. Studies assessing the efficacy of therapies for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nvAMD) have demonstrated that aflibercept may have a longer treatment interval than its lesser-expensive alternative, bevacizumab. However, whether this benefit justifies the additional cost of aflibercept remains under debate. We have recently reported that a “treat-and-extend-pause/monitor” (TEP/M) approach can be used to successfully wean 31% of nvAMD patients off anti-VEGF therapy. Here we examine whether the choice of therapy influences the outcomes of this approach. METHODS. In this retrospective analysis, 122 eyes of 106 patients with nvAMD underwent 3 consecutive monthly injections with either aflibercept (n=70) or bevacizumab (n=52) followed by a treat-and-extend protocol in which the decision to extend the interval between treatments was based on visual acuity, clinical exam, and the presence or absence of fluid on optical coherence tomography (OCT). Eyes that remained stable 12 weeks from their prior treatment were given a 6-week trial of holding further treatment, followed by quarterly monitoring. Treatment was resumed for worsening vision, clinical exam, or OCT findings. RESULTS. At the end of one year, eyes receiving bevacizumab had similar vision but required more injections (8.7 ±0.3 vs. 7.2 ±0.3) compared to aflibercept. However, eyes treated with aflibercept were almost 3-times more likely to be weaned off treatment (43% vs. 15%) compared to eyes treated with bevacizumab at the end of one year. CONCLUSIONS. These observations expose a previously unappreciated advantage of aflibercept over bevacizumab and have important clinical implications for the selection of therapy for patients with nvAMD.
Xuan Cao, Jaron Castillo Sanchez, Tapan P. Patel, Zhiyong Yang, Chuanyu Guo, Danyal Malik, Anuoluwapo Sopeyin, Silvia Montaner, Akrit Sodhi