Objective: To review the efficacy and safety of off-label use of bevacizumab for neovascular ocular diseases.
Data sources: A PubMed (1966-January 2007) search was conducted using the terms human, intravitreal, bevacizumab, macular, and retinopathy. Meeting abstracts from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Retina Society, Macula Society, and Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology were reviewed.
Study selection and data extraction: Controlled studies, unpublished reports involving 100 or more subjects, and published reports describing 5 or more subjects were reviewed. Only English-language articles were considered.
Data synthesis: Intravitreal bevacizumab has been evaluated in 133 patients in unpublished controlled studies. Over 3500 patients have been evaluated in open-label studies with duration of follow-up ranging from 3 months to 1 year. The most common use was neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Other conditions studied included diabetic retinopathy, pathological myopia, neovascular glaucoma, and macular edema due to diabetes, retinal vein occlusion, or uveitis. Statistically significant improvements in visual acuity, as well as decreases in retinal thickness and the extent of choroidal neovascularization, were noted. Intravitreal bevacizumab was well tolerated over the short term. In a registry compiling adverse experiences of 7113 intravitreal injections, rates of adverse events were less than or equal to 0.21%.
Conclusions: Uncontrolled studies support a benefit of intravitreal bevacizumab in neovascular AMD for 3 months to 1 year. Low cost is a significant advantage of bevacizumab. Patients should discuss the potential risks and benefits of intravitreal bevacizumab and other available therapies with their physicians before receiving treatment. Controlled trials are needed to characterize the safety and efficacy of intravitreal bevacizumab and determine the optimal treatment regimen.