Date: 20 Oct 2012

Adherence to ranibizumab treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration in real life

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Abstract

Background

To identify factors and problems influencing treatment adherence in patients undergoing anti-VEGF therapy for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) under real-life conditions.

Methods

Cross-sectional study was conducted of 95 patients receiving ranibizumab therapy on a pro re nata (PRN) regimen with monthly controls in a tertiary health care clinic. Monthly controls included best corrected visual acuity, slit-lamp examination and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. Adherence was measured using Kaplan–Meier time-to-discontinuation analysis. Patients were asked to respond to a 16-item questionnaire covering items such as anxiety, subjective benefit, and financial issues of therapy.

Results

Forty-two men and 53 women were included. After a mean follow-up time of 675 days (range 63–1008), adherence was 81.1 % (77/95). The mean number of follow-up visits was 19 (3–30), the mean number of intravitreal injections was ten (3–23). Seven patients withdrew from treatment due to subjective dissatisfaction with benefit. Other reasons for loss to follow-up were death in one case, serious general disease in three patients, and treatment options closer to home in five cases. Two patients cancelled further follow-up after treatment cessation due to terminal fibrosis. 62.1 % of patients were afraid of a negative examination result, whereas 19.0 % were afraid of intravitreal injections. A major problem was travel to and from the hospital (46.3 %), with 61.5 % of patients requiring escort.

Conclusion

Despite necessary monthly visits, patients showed a high adherence to therapy. The major problem was travel to and from the hospital. From the patients’ point of view, anxiety of a negative examination result was more pronounced than fear of intraocular injections, which would be an argument for continuous injections rather than for a PRN regimen.

Authors have full control of all primary data, and agree to allow Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology to review the data upon request.