Treatment patterns and persistence rates with anti-VEGF treatment for diabetic macular edema in the UK: a real-world study

T Peto, T Akerele, A Sagkriotis, S Zappacosta, A Clemens, U Chakravarthy

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Anti-vascular endothelial growth factors (anti-VEGFs) are considered standard of care therapy for diabetic macular edema (DME). This study examined treatment patterns and outcomes in patients with DME treated with anti-VEGF therapy.

Using anonymized electronic medical record data collected from three UK sites, this retrospective cohort study assessed rates of anti-VEGF intravitreal injections in adults with treatment-naïve DME who received their first treatment between 1 September 2010 and 31 July 2018. The proportion of patients with at least one interval of at least 12 weeks between injections; the distribution of injection intervals; the discontinuation rates; and the number of anti-VEGF injection-, injection-free- and total visits were assessed during the first and second years of treatment.

Overall, 1606 patient eyes with DME were included, with no minimum follow-up. During the first and second year of treatment, 63.2% and 73.1% of eyes had at least one anti-VEGF injection interval of at least 12 weeks, respectively. In the first and second years of treatment, the mean (standard deviation) numbers of injections were 7.7 (1.9) and 5.6 (2.2), with 14.2 (5.7) and 13.4 (6.4) total clinic visits, and 6.6 (5.0) and 7.8 (5.8) injection-free visits, respectively. In total, 27.8% of patient eyes discontinued treatment during the first 2 years.

The high number of clinic visits and high discontinuation rates demonstrate a significant unmet need for a treatment to enable sustainable extended injection intervals, while maintaining visual acuity. This could improve patient adherence and health-related quality of life for patients with DME.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14746
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Early online date19 Nov 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 19 Nov 2021


  • health care delivery


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