Purpose: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech Inc.) for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
Methods: A retrospective review was performed on consented patients with neovascular ARMD receiving intravitreal bevacizumab therapy. All patients received intravitreal bevacizumab at baseline with additional monthly injections given at the discretion of the treating physician. At each visit, a routine Snellen visual acuity assessment was performed followed by an ophthalmic examination and optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging.
Results: Fifty-three eyes of 50 patients received an intravitreal bevacizumab injection between May and August 2005. Including the month 3 visit, the average number of injections was 2.3 out of a maximum of 4 injections. No serious drug-related ocular or systemic adverse events were identified. Improvements in visual acuity and central retinal thickness measurements were evident by week 1 and continued through month 3. At month 3, the mean visual acuity improved from 20/160 to 20/125 (P < 0.001) and the mean central retinal thickness decreased by 99.6 microm (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Off-label intravitreal bevacizumab therapy for neovascular ARMD was well tolerated over 3 months with improvements in visual acuity and OCT central retinal thickness measurements. While the long-term safety and efficacy of intravitreal bevacizumab remain unknown, these short-term results suggest that intravitreal bevacizumab may be the most cost effective therapy for the treatment of neovascular ARMD.