Study Indicates Avastin (bevacizumab) May Work for Diabetic Macular Edema

May 6, 2009

A small study reports improvement in diabetic macular edema following intravitreal bevacizumab injection.  Thirty patients were followed for about 6 months after receiving bevacizumab injection as primary therapy for clinically significant macular edema.  While some patients received pan-retinal photocoagulation (PRP) for control of proliferative changes, none received focal laser for treatment of the macular edema.

The study found that most of their patients did improve following the injections; visual acuity and fluorescein leakage improved in about 80% and retinal thickness improved (decreased) in 90% as measured by OCT.

What does this mean? In this small group of patients, Avastin ® may be indicated or for the treatment of diabetic macular edema.  While focal laser has long been the mainstay of treatment, we have discussed its shortfalls before, that is, patients with diffuse macular edema and central areas of leakage cannot be treated with laser due to central scotoma formation.  While this was not a study comparing focal laser to bevacizumab, the inference is made that this may be a plausible first line treatment.  The study was small, it was not randomized and there was no cohort for comparison.  The study duration was brief  (< 6 months follow-up) and we do not really know whether injections need to be repeated.  Still this merits some attention and may hopefully fuel a larger study leading to some clearer answers.

Read the full article here.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist




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