Comparing Diabetic Macular Edema Treatments

February 19, 2015
Lloyd Paul Aiello

Results of the Protocol T Study 

In the first clinical trial directly comparing three drugs most commonly used to treat diabetic macular edema, researchers found all were effective in improving vision and preventing vision loss. However, one drug, aflibercept, provided greater improvement for people with more severe vision loss when treatment was initiated. The trial was conducted by the National Eye Institute Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network ( including researchers from Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology. The results appeared in the February online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

“The results clearly remove any doubts about anti-VEGF drugs’ efficacy in treating DME. All three drugs improved vision substantially, with aflibercept showing more visual gains in patients with worse vision at the start of the trial. Physicians now have robust data to help them counsel patients and make informed decisions regarding treatment options,” says study co-author Lloyd P. Aiello, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Co-director of the Diabetic Eye Disease Center of Excellence, Director of Joslin’s Beetham Eye Institute, and founding chair of the DRCR Network.

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