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      Retinal vein occlusion and the use of a dexamethasone intravitreal implant (Ozurdex®) in its treatment

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          To review published data pertaining to the clinical experience with a dexamethasone intravitreal implant (Ozurdex®) with a view to establishing a clinically based therapeutic regime.


          A PubMed search using the MeSH terms “retinal vein occlusion” and either “pathophysiology” or “dexamethasone intravitreal implant” was undertaken for manuscripts published until August 2015. The analysis included studies involving minimally 15 patients under a prospective design or 30 under a retrospective design, a minimal follow up of 6 months, and at least 2 intravitreal Ozurdex® injections per eye.


          In the vast majority of eyes, satisfactory outcomes were achieved with retreatment intervals of between 3 and 5 months. Initial evidence indicates a similar efficacy compared to anti-VEGF therapies as a first-line treatment. Safety concerns associated with the long-term and repeated use of Ozurdex® are not borne out by clinical findings: its implantation is not associated with a sustained increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) over time or with the number of applications.


          Compared with anti-VEGF therapies, the burden of retreatment is reduced. In patients with chronic macular edema not responsive to repetitive anti-VEGF therapies, the outcome after dexamethasone implant treatment is encouraging. However, these results are achieved at the expense of side effects typically associated with steroids: in up to 20 % of the Ozurdex®-treated patients, an elevation in IOP, which could be medically controlled in the majority of cases, and cataract formation or progression was observed.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Ranibizumab for macular edema due to retinal vein occlusions: long-term follow-up in the HORIZON trial.

          To assess long-term safety and efficacy of intraocular ranibizumab injections in patients with macular edema after retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Open-label extension trial of the 12-month Ranibizumab for the Treatment of Macular Edema following Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion: Evaluation of Efficacy and Safety (BRAVO) and Central Retinal Vein Occlusion Study: Evaluation of Efficacy and Safety (CRUISE) trials. We included 304 patients who completed BRAVO and 304 patients who completed CRUISE. Patients were seen at least every 3 months and given an intraocular injection of 0.5 mg ranibizumab if they met prespecified retreatment criteria. Primary outcomes were incidence and severity of ocular and nonocular adverse events (AEs). Key efficacy outcomes included mean change from baseline best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) letter score by Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study protocol and central foveal thickness. In patients who completed month 12, the mean number of injections (excluding month 12 injection) in the sham/0.5-, 0.3/0.5-, and 0.5-mg groups was 2.0, 2.4, and 2.1 (branch RVO) and 2.9, 3.8, and 3.5 (central RVO), respectively. The incidence of study eye ocular serious AEs (SAEs) and SAEs potentially related to systemic vascular endothelial growth factor inhibition across treatment arms was 2% to 9% and 1% to 6%, respectively. The mean change from baseline BCVA letter score at month 12 in branch RVO patients was 0.9 (sham/0.5 mg), -2.3 (0.3/0.5 mg), and -0.7 (0.5 mg), respectively. The mean change from baseline BCVA at month 12 in central RVO patients was -4.2 (sham/0.5 mg), -5.2 (0.3/0.5 mg), and -4.1 (0.5 mg), respectively. No new safety events were identified with long-term use of ranibizumab; rates of SAEs potentially related to treatment were consistent with prior ranibizumab trials. Reduced follow-up and fewer ranibizumab injections in the second year of treatment were associated with a decline in vision in central RVO patients, but vision in branch RVO patients remained stable. Results suggest that during the second year of ranibizumab treatment of RVO patients, follow-up and injections should be individualized and, on average, central RVO patients may require more frequent follow-up than every 3 months. Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Intravitreal aflibercept injection for macular edema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion: 1-year results from the phase 3 COPERNICUS study.

            To evaluate intravitreal aflibercept injections (IAI; also called VEGF Trap-Eye) for patients with macular edema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). Randomized controlled trial. This multicenter study randomized 189 patients (1 eye/patient) with macular edema secondary to CRVO to receive 6 monthly injections of either 2 mg intravitreal aflibercept (IAI 2Q4) (n = 115) or sham (n = 74). From week 24 to week 52, all patients received 2 mg intravitreal aflibercept as needed (IAI 2Q4 + PRN and sham + IAI PRN) according to retreatment criteria. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who gained ≥15 ETDRS letters from baseline at week 24. Additional endpoints included visual, anatomic, and quality-of-life NEI VFQ-25 outcomes at weeks 24 and 52. At week 24, 56.1% of IAI 2Q4 patients gained ≥15 letters from baseline compared with 12.3% of sham patients (P < .001). At week 52, 55.3% of IAI 2Q4 + PRN patients gained ≥15 letters compared with 30.1% of sham + IAI PRN patients (P < .001). At week 52, IAI 2Q4 + PRN patients gained a mean of 16.2 letters of vision vs 3.8 letters for sham + IAI PRN (P < .001). The most common adverse events for both groups were conjunctival hemorrhage, eye pain, reduced visual acuity, and increased intraocular pressure. Monthly injections of 2 mg intravitreal aflibercept for patients with macular edema secondary to CRVO resulted in a statistically significant improvement in visual acuity at week 24, which was largely maintained through week 52 with intravitreal aflibercept PRN dosing. Intravitreal aflibercept injection was generally well tolerated. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Intravitreal levels of vascular endothelial growth factor and interleukin-6 are correlated with macular edema in branch retinal vein occlusion.

              To investigate whether vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or interleukin-6 (IL-6) contributes to the pathogenesis of macular edema in eyes with branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), the correlations between these factors were investigated. We studied 25 patients suffering from macular edema with BRVO and 14 patients with nonischemic ocular disease (control group). The degree of retinal ischemia was evaluated in terms of the area of capillary nonperfusion using Scion Images, and the severity of macular edema was examined using optical coherence tomography. Vitreous fluid samples were obtained at the time of vitreoretinal surgery, and VEGF and IL-6 levels in the vitreous fluid and plasma were determined by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Vitreous fluid levels of VEGF and IL-6 were significantly elevated in patients with BRVO compared with control patients (P = 0.0011 and P < 0.0001, respectively). Also, the vitreous level of VEGF was significantly correlated with that of IL-6 (P = 0.0012), and vitreous levels of VEGF and IL-6 were correlated with the size of the BRVO nonperfusion area (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0033, respectively). Furthermore, vitreous levels of VEGF and IL-6 were correlated with the severity of macular edema (P = 0.0008 and P = 0.0191, respectively) and the severity of macular edema of BRVO was significantly correlated with the size of the BRVO nonperfusion area (P=0.0044). The levels of VEGF and IL-6 are increased in patients with macular edema with BRVO and are significantly correlated with the size of the nonperfusion area and the severity of macular edema. Therefore, they may play a role in macular edema with BRVO.

                Author and article information

                Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol
                Graefes Arch. Clin. Exp. Ophthalmol
                Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                13 May 2016
                13 May 2016
                : 254
                : 1257-1265
                Berner Augenklinik am Lindenhofspital, University of Bern, Swiss Eye Institute, Luzerner Strasse 1, CH-6343 Rotkreuz, Bern Switzerland
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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