Costs of Managing Diabetic Macular Edema with Good Visual Acuity with Aflibercept, Laser or Observation: DRCR Retina Network Protocol V

Date Published:

2021 Mar 10


PURPOSE: Since eyes with center-involved diabetic macular edema (CI-DME) and good baseline visual acuity (VA) showed no difference in VA loss when managed initially with observation, laser, or aflibercept, understanding the estimated costs of these strategies to the US population is relevant for health care planning. DESIGN: Pre-planned subgroup analysis from a randomized controlled trial METHODS, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Total costs for managing participants with CI-DME and good baseline VA assigned to aflibercept (n= 236), laser (n=240), or observation (n = 236) during the 2-year trial were calculated. Using epidemiological data and extrapolating costs, 10-year costs for caring for persons with CI-DME and good baseline VA throughout the US was estimated. INTERVENTIONS: Observation or laser groups initiated aflibercept if VA decreased. Aflibercept group received injections up to every 4 weeks. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Estimated 10-year U.S. population costs to manage CI-DME with good VA. RESULTS: Assuming all patients in the US with CI-DME and good baseline VA received aflibercept initially, 10-year costs were projected to be $28.80 billion compared with $14.42 billion if initially receiving laser treatment or $15.70 billion if initially observed, with aflibercept added if VA worsened in the laser or observation arms. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Similar VA outcomes on average are obtained by initially managing CI-DME and good baseline VA with laser or observation strategies instead of immediately using aflibercept. While any one of these three strategies might be warranted depending on an individual's specific circumstances, on a societal level, cost savings might be achieved with these first two approaches. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT01909791.

Last updated on 03/31/2021