Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME) are major causes of visual impairment in the elderly population worldwide. With the aging population, the prevalence of neovascular AMD and DME has increased substantially over the recent years. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been implicated as playing an important role in the pathogenesis of both neovascular AMD and DME. Since its introduction in 2006, ranibizumab, a recombinant, humanized, monoclonal antibody fragment against all isoforms of VEGF-A, has revolutionized the treatment of neovascular AMD and DME. The efficacy and safety of ranibizumab in neovascular AMD has been demonstrated in the ANCHOR and MARINA trials. Further studies including the PIER, PrONTO, and SUSTAIN trials have also evaluated the optimal dosing regimen of ranibizumab in neovascular AMD. The CATT and IVAN trials compared the safety and efficacy of ranibizumab with off-label use of bevacizumab. Studies such as SUSTAIN and HORIZON have shown that ranibizumab has a good safety profile and is well tolerated for over 4 years with very few serious ocular and systemic adverse events. For DME, Phase II RESOLVE study and Phase III RISE and RIDE studies have demonstrated superiority of ranibizumab treatment in improving vision over placebo controls. Phase II READ and Phase III RESOLVE and REVEAL studies have shown that ranibizumab is more effective both as monotherapy and in combination with laser compared with laser monotherapy. The 3-year results from the DRCRnet protocol I study found that ranibizumab with deferred laser resulted in better long-term visual outcome compared with ranibizumab with prompt laser. This review summarizes various important clinical trials on the long-term efficacy and safety of ranibizumab in the treatment of neovascular AMD and DME. The pharmacological properties of ranibizumab, its cost effectiveness, and impact on quality of life will also be discussed.
Keywords: ranibizumab, anti-VEGF therapy, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, safety, diabetic retinopathy, cost-effectiveness