The most frequent cause of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is diabetic macular edema (DME). Earlier clinical trials tried to examine the role of intravitreal triamcinolone (IVT) and intravitreal bevacizumab (IVB) in DME; they either qualified IVT over IVB or IVB over IVT or did not exhibit a significant difference.
This paper aims to compare the efficacy and safety of IVB versus IVT alone or combined IVB+IVT in the treatment of DME.
We systematically searched PubMed, CENTRAL, Scopus, Embase, Science Direct, OVID, and Web of Science for randomized controlled trials of IVB versus IVT alone or combined IVB+IVT and IVT versus the combined IVB+IVT in DME patients.
A total of 1243 eyes of 17 trials were included in our meta-analysis and regression. Repeated injections of IVB were superior at improving VA comparing with those of IVT at 12, 24, 48-weeks, and IVB+IVT at 12, 24, 48-weeks. Single injections were comparable across the three arms regarding BCVA improvement. CMT reductions were also comparable across the three arms. Meanwhile, the overall safety regarding intraocular pressure and intraocular hypertension significantly favored the IVB group. Improvement in VA was best modified with CMT reduction from 480 um to 320um. This association was significant at 12-weeks in the three arms and persisted till 24-weeks and 48-weeks exclusively in the IVB group.
Our analysis reveals that repeated successive injections associate with better BCVA compared to single injection. Current evidence affirms that IVB is superior to IVT and IVB+IVT at improving BCVA, comparable at reducing CMT, and presents a better safety profile in the treatment of DME.