As far back as 2007, triple therapy for wet (neovascular) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was shown to be superior to mono therapy (intraocular injection of a single anti-VEGF drug).* And now, a study described in a recent online publication of the peer-reviewed monthly, International Journal of Retina and Vitreous, found that triple therapy supplemented with oral zeaxanthin is even better. Scientists found that a combination of intravitreal Avastin, photodynamic therapy with verteporfin, intravitreal corticosteroids, and ingestion of 20 mg of the carotenoid, zeaxanthin, had potentially groundbreaking results. Of particular note was the finding that the addition of oral zeaxanthin dramatically increased the benefits.
Joseph Olk, MD and his colleagues noted in the study of 543 eyes in 424 consecutive patients that triple therapy with zeaxanthin:
1. decreased the number of intravitreal injections into the eye by 5-fold versus the most common wet AMD treatment, monotherapy with VEGF inhibitors,
2. decreased the $40,000+ costs associated with the use of monotherapy with select VEGF-inhibitors by 5-fold, and
3. decreased the incidence of neovascular AMD in the second eye over two years from 36% to 7%.
According to Dr. Gary Brown, Chief Emeritus of the Retina Service at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, PA and Chief Medical Officer at the Center for Value-Based Medicine®, Flourtown, PA, “This therapy is exciting because it will allow more people to be treated due to the dramatic decrease in cost. The potential decrease in the incidence of wet AMD affecting the fellow eye, however, is remarkable. Vision loss in the second eye from this disease is devastating and life altering.”
Dr. Olk noted, “The decreased number of intravitreal injections is an alleviated burden that will make most patients very grateful.” Ophthalmologist Dr. Melissa Brown, CEO of the Center for Value-Based Medicine® stated, “Additionally, the financial return-on-investment for society for the direct medical dollars expended is considerable.”
*Triple therapy for choroidal neovascularization due to age-related macular degeneration: verteporfin PDT, bevacizumab, and dexamethasone. Augustin AJ1, Puls S, Offermann I (Retina. 2007 Feb;27(2):133-40)