PloS one 2017 12 0812(12) e0189035 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0189035
To describe the burden associated with different anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatment strategies for wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) in a real-word setting in Japan.
Single-center, cross-sectional survey of caregivers of patients with wAMD performed in a hospital in Mito-City, a rural area in Japan. Caregiver burden was evaluated using the Burden Index of Caregivers (BIC-11), and depressive symptoms were assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. Retrospective medical chart review was conducted to monitor resource use and visual acuity outcomes in patients. The productivity loss of caregivers accompanying patients on hospital visits was estimated using the human capital method.
Seventy-one patient-caregiver pairs were included. Most caregivers were female (74.6%), spouse/partner (54.9%), employed (46.5%), and the primary caregiver (85.9%). Patients received anti-VEGF treatment as follows: treat-and-extend (T&E; n = 42), switch (from as-needed [PRN] to T&E; n = 18), PRN (n = 10), and other (n = 1). Caregiver-related burden (total BIC-11 scores) were 4.29 (T&E) 4.60 (PRN), and 5.33 (switch) (p = NS). The mean number of hospital visits was lower with T&E than PRN (7.88 vs. 14.0 [p = 0.00674] in year 1 and 5.68 vs. 9.0 in year 2). For patients who switched from PRN to T&E, the mean number of hospital visits decreased from 13.21 to 7.43 (p<0.0001) in the first year after switch. The productivity loss associated with accompanying patients to the hospital was lower for caregivers of patients receiving T&E than PRN (mean differences: 74,456.04 JPY [p = 0.00284] in year 1 and 40843.14 JPY in year 2), and was also reduced for caregivers of patients who switched from PRN to T&E. CONCLUSION
wAMD treatment with anti-VEGF agents via T&E reduced hospital visits compared with PRN, where associated monitoring visits are necessary to provide good patient outcomes. T&E was associated with a reduction trend in caregiver burden, including time and costs.