Pegaptanib: a novel approach to ocular neovascularization

Ann Pharmacother. 2006 Jul-Aug;40(7-8):1322-6. doi: 10.1345/aph.1G604. Epub 2006 Jul 18.


Objective: To review pegaptanib, a novel aptamer for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Data sources: A literature search using MEDLINE (1980-January 2006) and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1978-January 2006) for peer-reviewed, English-language publications was conducted. Abstracts from recent meetings, including the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and American Society of Retinal Specialists, were reviewed for relevant abstracts and poster presentations.

Study selection and data extraction: Pharmacokinetic and pharmacology data were extracted from animal and human studies, and double-blind, randomized, controlled trials were included to describe the efficacy and adverse effects of pegaptanib.

Data synthesis: The efficacy of pegaptanib has been evaluated in 2 concurrent, prospective, randomized, double-blind trials. Patients with AMD were randomly assigned to receive placebo or pegaptanib intravitreous injection into 1 eye every 6 weeks for 48 weeks. The effectiveness of pegaptanib was realized as early as week 6 and continued through week 54. At week 54, 38% of patients receiving pegaptanib 0.3 mg were classified as legally blind versus 56% of those receiving the sham injection.

Conclusions: Pegaptanib, a new inhibitor of ocular neovascularization, provides patients with an alternative to photodynamic therapy with verteporfin and offers a novel approach to future drug developments for AMD. Pegaptanib offers the advantage of not requiring photodynamic therapy in conjunction with drug delivery and may be a viable option for institutions where this service is not easily accessible. Results of clinical trials have shown that pegaptanib is effective in delaying progression of AMD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / economics
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / pharmacokinetics
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / pharmacology
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Retinal Neovascularization / drug therapy*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • pegaptanib