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Health Technol Assess. 2008 May;12(16):iii-iv, ix-201.

Ranibizumab and pegaptanib for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and economic evaluation.

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  • 1Southampton Health Technology Assessments Centre, Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development, University of Southampton, UK.



To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ranibizumab and pegaptanib for subfoveal choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) associated with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).


Electronic databases were searched from inception to September 2006. Experts in the field were consulted and manufacturers' submissions were examined.


The quality of included studies was assessed using standard methods and the clinical effectiveness data were synthesised through a narrative review with full tabulation of results. A model was developed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of ranibizumab and of pegaptanib (separately), compared with current practice or best supportive care, from the perspective of the NHS and Personal Social Services. Two time horizons were adopted for each model. The first adopted time horizons determined by the available trial data. The second analysis extrapolated effects of treatment beyond the clinical trials, adopting a time horizon of 10 years.


The combined analysis of two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of pegaptanib [0.3 mg (licensed dose), 1.0 mg and 3.0 mg] versus sham injection in patients with all lesion types was reported by three publications (the VISION study). Three published RCTs of ranibizumab were identified (MARINA, ANCHOR, FOCUS), and an additional unpublished RCT was provided by the manufacturer (PIER). Significantly more patients lost less than 15 letters of visual acuity at 12 months when taking pegaptanib (0.3 mg: 70% of patients; 1.0 mg: 71% of patients; 3.0 mg: 65% of patients) or ranibizumab (0.3 mg: 94.3-94.5%; 0.5 mg: 94.6-96.4%) than sham injection patients (55% versus pegaptanib and 62.2% versus ranibizumab) or, in the case of ranibizumab, photodynamic therapy (PDT) (64.3%). The proportion of patients gaining 15 letters or more (a clinically important outcome having a significant impact on quality of life) was statistically significantly greater in the pegaptanib group for doses of 0.3 and 1.0 mg but not for 3.0 mg, and for all ranibizumab groups compared to the sham injection groups or PDT. This was also statistically significant for patients receiving 0.5 mg ranibizumab plus PDT compared with PDT plus sham injection. Pegaptanib patients lost statistically significantly fewer letters after 12 months of treatment than the sham group [mean letters lost: 7.5 (0.3 mg), 6.5 (1.0 mg) or 10 (3.0 mg) vs 14.5 (sham)]. In the MARINA and ANCHOR trials, ranibizumab patients gained letters of visual acuity at 12 months whereas patients with sham injection or PDT lost about 10 letters (p<0.001) and in the PIER study, ranibizumab patients lost significantly fewer than the sham injection group. Significantly fewer patients receiving pegaptanib or ranibizumab deteriorated to legal blindness compared with the control groups. Adverse events were common for both pegaptanib andranibizumab but most were mild to moderate. Drug costs for 1 year of treatment were estimated as 4626 pounds for pegaptanib and 9134 pounds for ranibizumab. Non-drug costs accounted for an additional 2614 pounds for pegaptanib and 3120 pounds for ranibizumab. Further costs are associated with the management of injection-related adverse events, from 1200 pounds to 2100 pounds. For pegaptanib compared with usual care, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) ranged from 163,603 pounds for the 2-year model to 30,986 pounds for the 10-year model. Similarly, the ICERs for ranibizumab for patients with minimally classic and occult no classic lesions, compared with usual care, ranged from 152,464 pounds for the 2-year model to 25,098 pounds for the 10-year model.


Patients with AMD of any lesion type benefit from treatment with pegaptanib or ranibizumab on measures of visual acuity when compared with sham injection and/or PDT. Patients who continued treatment with either drug appeared to maintain benefits after 2 years of follow-up. When comparing pegaptanib and ranibizumab, the evidence was less clear due to the lack of direct comparison through head-to-head trials and the lack of opportunity for indirect statistical comparison due to heterogeneity. The cost-effectiveness analysis showed that the two drugs offered additional benefit over the comparators of usual care and PDT but at increased cost. Future research should encompass trials to compare pegaptanib with ranibizumab and bevacizumab, and to investigate the role of verteporfin PDT in combination with these drugs. Studies are also needed to assess adverse events outside the proposed RCTs, to consider the optimal dosing regimes of these drugs and the benefits of re-treatment after initial treatment, and to review costing in more detail. Health state utilities and their relationship with visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, the relationship between duration of vision loss and the quality of life and functional impact of vision loss, behavioural studies of those genetically at risk are other topics requiring further research.

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