Objective: To determine whether verteporfin photodynamic therapy (PDT) can safely reduce the risk of vision loss in patients with subfoveal occult with no classic choroidal neovascularization (CNV) due to age-related macular degeneration.
Research design and methods: Eligible patients were > or =50 years of age with lesion size < or =6 disc areas and best-corrected vision 20/40-20/200. A total of 364 patients with occult with no classic CNV were randomly assigned 2 : 1 to verteporfin PDT (n = 244) or placebo (n = 120). The primary outcome measures were loss of > or =15 and > or =30 letters of visual acuity (VA) from baseline at 12 and 24 months.
Clinical trial registration: This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov on 20 July 2005. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00121407.
Results: A total of 37% and 47% of verteporfin-treated patients versus 45% and 53% of placebo recipients lost > or =15 letters of VA at month 12 and month 24, respectively; 16% and 23% of verteporfin-treated patients versus 17% and 25% of placebo recipients lost > or =30 letters at month 12 and month 24, respectively. These differences were not statistically significant. Four (1.6%) verteporfin-treated patients and one placebo patient (who received verteporfin in error) experienced an acute severe VA decrease; all five patients recovered some degree of vision. No unexpected ocular or systemic adverse events were identified.
Conclusions: Verteporfin PDT in the treatment of occult with no classic CNV was safe and well-tolerated. The differences between the two groups in the primary efficacy variables were not significant. Baseline characteristics and patient selection methods may have contributed to the small treatment effect.