Authors: Martin K. Schmid, Oliver Reich, Eva Blozik, Livia Faes, Nicolas S Bodmer, Silvan Locher, Michael A. Thiel, Roland Rapold, Maximilian Kuhn, Lucas M. Bachmann.
Journal: BMC Opthalmology
To compare anti-VEGF treatments for macular disease in terms of costs and clinical outcomes.
We identified patients suffering from macular disease and treated either with aflibercept, ranibizumab or both at the largest public eye clinic in Switzerland between January 1st and December 31st 2016 who were insured in one of the two participating health insurance companies. Clinical data were extracted from the electronic health record system. The health insurers provided the health claim costs for the ophthalmologic care and the total health care costs of each patient in the observation period. Using multivariate regression models, we assessed the monthly ophthalmologic and the monthly total costs of patients with no history of switching (ranibizumab vs. aflibercept), patients with a history of switching from ranibizumab to aflibercept, patients switching during the observation period and a miscellaneous group. We examined baseline differences in age, proportion of males, visual acuity (letters), central retinal thickness (CRT) and treatment history before entering the study. We investigated treatment intensity and compared the changes in letters and CRT.
The analysis involved 488 eyes (361 patients), 182 on ranibizumab treatment, and 63 on aflibercept treatment, 160 eyes with a history of switching from ranibizumab to aflibercept, and 45 switchers during follow-up and 38 eyes of the miscellaneous group. Compared to ranibizumab, monthly costs of ophthalmologic treatment were slightly higher for aflibercept treatment + 175.0 CHF (95%CI: 1.5 CHF to 348.3 CHF; p = 0.048) as were the total monthly costs + 581.0 CHF (95%CI: 159.5 CHF to 1002.4 CHF; p = 0.007). Compared to ranibizumab, the monthly treatment intensity with aflibercept was similar (+ 0.057 injections/month (95%CI -0.023 to 0.137; p = 0.162), corresponding to a projected annual number of 5.4 injections for ranibizumab vs. 6.1 injections for aflibercept. During follow-up, visus dropped by 0.7 letters with ranibizumab and increased by 0.6 letters with aflibercept (p = 0.243). CRT dropped by − 14.9 μm with ranibizumab and by − 19.5 μm with aflibercept (p = 0.708). The monthly costs of all other groups examined were higher.
These real-life data show that aflibercept treatment is equally expensive, and clinical outcomes between the two drugs are similar.