Objective: To examine associations between therapies for age-related macular degeneration and risks of all-cause mortality, incident myocardial infarction, bleeding, and incident stroke.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 146,942 Medicare beneficiaries 65 years or older with a claim for age-related macular degeneration between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2006. On the basis of claims for the initial treatment, we assigned beneficiaries to 1 of 4 groups. The active control group included patients who received photodynamic therapy. The other groups included patients who received intravitreous pegaptanib octasodium, bevacizumab, or ranibizumab. We censored data from patients when they received a therapy different from the initial therapy. The main outcome measures were associations between photodynamic, pegaptanib, bevacizumab, and ranibizumab therapies and the risks of all-cause mortality, incident myocardial infarction, bleeding, and incident stroke.
Results: After adjustment for baseline characteristics and comorbid conditions, we found significant differences in the rates of mortality and myocardial infarction by treatment group. Specifically, the hazard of mortality was significantly lower with ranibizumab therapy than with photodynamic therapy (hazard ratio, 0.85; 99% confidence interval, 0.75-0.95) or pegaptanib use (0.84; 0.74-0.95), and the hazard of myocardial infarction was significantly lower with ranibizumab use than with photodynamic therapy (0.73; 0.58-0.92). There were no significant differences in the hazard of mortality or myocardial infarction between bevacizumab use and the other therapies. We found no statistically significant relationship between treatment group and bleeding events or stroke.
Conclusion: Bevacizumab and ranibizumab use was not associated with increased risks of mortality, myocardial infarction, bleeding, or stroke compared with photodynamic therapy or pegaptanib use.