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Clinical utilization of anti-VEGF agents and disease monitoring in neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

PURPOSE: To examine bevacizumab and ranibizumab utilization and disease monitoring patterns in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (neovascular AMD) in clinical practice.

DESIGN: Retrospective medical claims analysis.

METHODS: Patients receiving ≥1 ranibizumab or bevacizumab injection during the 12 months after initial neovascular AMD diagnosis were included. Annual bevacizumab and/or ranibizumab injection utilization was assessed by year of first injection cohorts: 2006 and 2007 (received either agent because of billing code overlap), 2008, 2009, and January-June 2010 (received each agent). Outcome measures were time to first injection relative to neovascular AMD diagnosis and mean numbers of intravitreal injections, ophthalmologist visits, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescein angiography (FA) examinations in 12 months.

RESULTS: In the 2006 and 2007 cohorts (n = 8767), mean annual numbers of bevacizumab or ranibizumab injections were 4.7 and 5.0, respectively. Over 92% of patients in all cohorts received first treatment within 3 months of neovascular AMD diagnosis. In the 2008-2010 cohorts (n = 10 259), mean annual number of injections remained low (bevacizumab: 4.6, 5.1, and 5.5; ranibizumab: 6.1, 6.6, and 6.9), as did mean numbers of ophthalmologist visits (bevacizumab only) and OCT examinations (both agents), but there was no such trend in FA examinations.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with treatment paradigms validated by clinical trials published at the time, in clinical practice, patients with neovascular AMD received fewer bevacizumab or ranibizumab injections and less-frequent monitoring from 2006 to mid-2011. Factors contributing to this lower injection frequency and visual outcomes associated with reduced utilization need to be researched.

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