, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 167–179

New Pharmacologic Approaches to Therapy for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Novel Therapeutic Strategies


As a result of a better understanding of molecular mechanisms, a variety of new Pharmacologic treatments have recently been developed for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Efficacy and tolerability have been demonstrated for drugs targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a key player in the pathogenesis of choroidal neovascularization. Both pegaptanib (anti-VEGF aptamer) and ranibizumab (anti-VEGF antibody fragment), applied at 4- to 6-week intervals into the vitreous, modified the natural course of the disease in phase III clinical studies. Corticosteroids with anti-angiogenic properties also represent a treatment option for wet AMD. Both intravitreal triamcinolone and anecortave acetate, administered juxtasclerally, are currently being pursued.

The combination of different treatment strategies and potential synergistic effects offers new perspectives. While photodynamic therapy (PDT) combined with intravitreal triamcinolone is already frequently applied, other combinations (e.g. anti-VEGF drugs with PDT or antifibrotic agents) appear to be attractive alternatives. Pigment epithelium-derived factor represents another potential target, as well as inhibitors of matrix-metalloproteinases. With the advent of gene therapy, the use of small interfering RNA (siRNA) is also on the horizon.

Prophylactic measures are still limited. The combination of vitamins C and E, β-carotene, and zinc as used in the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) reduces risk for conversion from early- to late-stage disease in patients with high-risk features, at least to some extent. Lutein and zeaxanthin dietary supplements for improvement of macular pigment density need to be investigated in future longitudinal trials.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity of Bonn Medical CenterBonnGermany

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