Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy has become the most commonly used treatment for macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Although its superior efficacy as compared to other interventions has been proven, there is a lack of evidence for relative efficacy among anti-VEGF drugs. Areas covered: This work systematically reviewed and compared the efficacy of intravitreal bevacizumab, ranibizumab, and aflibercept for treating macular edema due to RVO. PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched from their inception until October 2017. Eleven randomized controlled trials (18 articles; 1830 adult patients) were identified. The proportion of patients who gained at least 15 letters in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), mean change from baseline in BCVA, and mean change from baseline in central macular thickness (CMT) were reported and these efficacy outcomes at 6 months were analyzed in network meta-analysis. Expert commentary: Apparently, bevacizumab, ranibizumab, and aflibercept were significantly superior to sham injection in terms of BCVA improvement and CMT reduction and had good safety profiles. However, there were no statistically significant differences in any outcomes among anti-VEGF drugs. In selecting an anti-VEGF drug for individual patients, other factors including affordability, drug availability, and patient characteristics should be considered.
Keywords: Anti-VEGF; BRVO; CRVO; intravitreal injection; network meta-analysis.