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Better vision ahead for many diabetic retinopathy patients
Date:4/27/2010

anibizumab plus prompt laser treatment, ranibizumab plus deferred laser treatment (provided at 24 weeks or later, if indicated), a coritcosteroid (triamcinolone) eye injection plus prompt laser treatment, or prompt laser treatment alone.

At the one year follow up patients who had received ranibizumab with prompt or deferred laser treatment had, on average, significantly better visual acuity than the group treated with laser alone. Also, significantly more patients in the ranibizumab-treated groups gained vision, and fewer suffered vision loss. In patients who entered the study after having cataract surgery and lens implants, results for corticosteroids plus laser treatment appeared comparable to the ranibizumab results, but intraocular pressure (IOP) increased in some corticosteroid-treated patients. Elevated IOP is undesirable because it can increase the risk of glaucoma. Negative outcomes were minimal in patients treated with ranibizumab. Results at two years were comparable to year one, but the researchers urge further study to confirm the longer-term safety and effects of ranibizumab for diabetic macular edema patients.

"In the brave new world of health care reform, the DRCR Network will serve as a model for future comparative effectiveness studies," Dr. Williams said.

The Academy will review the DRCR Network results and recommendations to determine whether, going forward, ranibizumab plus laser treatment should be a preferred treatment for most patients with diabetic macular edema with characteristics similar to those enrolled in this DRCR Network study.

Drs. Bressler and Williams emphasize that people with diabetes should ask their ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) if the new treatment approach might be appropriate for them. Although ranibizumab is an FDA-approved drug for AMD, it is not yet specifically approved for use with DME. Not every insurance company covers its use for DME at this time, since the definitive DRCR Network
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Contact: Mary Wade
mwade@aao.org
415-447-0221
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert

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