Objective: The pilot study examined the ability of octreotide to retard progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and delay the need for panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) in patients with advanced stages of retinal disease.
Research design and methods: Patients with severe nonproliferative DR (NPDR) or early non-high-risk proliferative DR (PDR) were randomly assigned to conventional diabetes management (control group, 12 patients) or to treatment with maximally tolerated doses of octreotide (200-5,000 microg/day subcutaneously; 11 patients). Ocular changes in each eye were assessed at a minimum of every 3 months for 15 months or until disease progressed to high-risk PDR requiring laser surgery. Endocrine assessments occurred at 3-month intervals during the study
Results: Only 1 of 22 eyes from patients treated with octreotide reached high-risk PDR requiring PRP, compared with control patients, in whom 9 of 24 eyes required PRP. The decreased incidence of progression requiring laser surgery was statistically significant if events were considered independently (P < 0.006). The incidence of ocular disease progression was only 27% in patients treated with octreotide compared with 42% in patients with conventional diabetes management. This treatment effect on whether the retina worsened approached statistical significance using repeated measures analysis (P = 0.0605). Endocrine management was similar between treatment groups. Thyroxine replacement therapy was administered to maintain a euthyroid state for all octreotide-treated patients and 7 of 12 control patients.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that octreotide treatment in euthyroid patients may retard progression of advanced DR and may delay the time to laser surgery.