Objectives: To analyze the current preferences of ophthalmologists for the treatment of macular edema and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and to evaluate off-label use of bevacizumab in Turkey.
Materials and methods: All members of the Turkish Ophthalmological Association were contacted by e-mail to complete an anonymous, 47-question internet-based survey. The second part of the survey (questions 36-47) was evaluated.
Results: When current legal regulations were considered, ophthalmologists used bevacizumab as the first-line agent in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME), AMD, and retinal vein occlusion (RVO) (58.25%, 55.89%, and 52.29%, respectively). When economic and legal constraints were disregarded, the participants' preference for bevacizumab in the treatment of DME, AMD, and RVO decreased (11.64%, 10.58%, and 10.93%, respectively). Approximately three-quarters (75.75%) of ophthalmologists stated that dispensing multiple syringes from a single bevacizumab bottle could increase the risk of endophthalmitis. Most participants (93.68%) did not feel legally safe from harm caused by off-label bevacizumab use. However, 66.43% of ophthalmologists stated that bevacizumab is as effective as other anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs.
Conclusion: Bevacizumab is widely used as a first-line treatment for all indications of anti-VEGF use in the current reimbursement conditions, which preclude the right of ophthalmologists to treat according to their own preferences.
Keywords: Anti-VEGF; aflibercept; age-related macular degeneration; bevacizumab; diabetic macular edema; off-label; ranibizumab; retinal vein occlusion.
©Copyright 2022 by Turkish Ophthalmological Association, Turkish Journal of Ophthalmology, published by Galenos Publishing House.