Triple therapy useful for blindness disorder
A single session of photodynamic therapy plus injections of the drugs bevacizumab (Avastin) and triamcinolone into the eye may improve or stabilize the vision of patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a study shows.
AMD is the most common cause of blindness in adults 55 years of age and older. Neovascular or “wet” AMD accounts for just 8 percent of cases, but is responsible for 85 percent of the severe vision loss caused by the disease. Photodynamic therapy, a popular treatment for the condition, uses light energy to reduce the abnormal blood vessel formation that occurs in the disease.
The study was designed based on the hypothesis that the combination of photodynamic therapy and injections of bevacizumab and triamcinolone could interrupt the pathway leading to AMD, Dr. Hamid Ahmadieh of Labbafinejad Medical Center, Tehran, Iran, told Reuters Health.
“We limited photodynamic therapy to one session in our treatment protocol to reduce the cost of treatment and the potential side effects of photodynamic therapy,” Ahmadieh explained.
In the study, 17 eyes with neovascular AMD were treated with single-session photodynamic therapy according to the standard protocol. This was followed by injections of bevacizumab and triamcinolone 48 hours later.
Significant improvements in vision were noted in most eyes at 12 and 24 weeks, the authors report in the journal BioMedCentral (BMC) Ophthalmology.
Vision improved in 11 eyes and remained unchanged in 6 eyes 12 weeks after initial treatment. After 24 weeks, vision improved in 13 eyes and remained unchanged in 4.
A larger study is underway to confirm the results of this pilot study, Ahmadieh said.
SOURCE: BMC Ophthalmology, June 7th online issue 2007.
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