Anti-VEGF treatment patterns for neovascular age-related macular degeneration among medicare beneficiaries.
PURPOSE: To examine the use of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy in clinical practice among patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Among 459 237 Medicare beneficiaries, we identified anti-VEGF treatment using claims for intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF medications with a supporting diagnosis of neovascular AMD. We used the cumulative incidence function to calculate the frequency of anti-VEGF treatments and treatment visits for neovascular AMD per treated eye in the first and second year after the initial anti-VEGF injection. We calculated the mean number of treatments and treatment visits per eye using the mean frequency function. Rates of discontinuation were estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods. RESULTS: The mean number of injections was 4.3 in the first year, with 58% of patients receiving 1-4 injections, 20% receiving 5-6 injections, and 22% receiving 7 or more injections. Among patients who received 7 or more injections during the first year, 31% received a comparable number during the second year, and 12% received no injections. Of patients who received 1-4 injections during the first year, 70% received no injections and 24% received 1-4 injections during the second year. Rates of anti-VEGF discontinuation were 57% within 12 months and 71% within 24 months. CONCLUSIONS: The frequency of anti-VEGF injections for neovascular AMD was lower than that recommended by large-scale clinical trials, and rates of discontinuation were high. National practice patterns in anti-VEGF therapy for patients with neovascular AMD do not reflect optimal treatment strategies suggested by recent clinical trial evidence.
Lad, EM; Hammill, BG; Qualls, LG; Wang, F; Cousins, SW; Curtis, LH
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