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Wet AMD drugs also effective in treating diabetic macular edema

Researchers are pleased with the results of clinical studies which show that both Lucentis and Macugen are highly effective in treating diabetic macular edema along with treating wet age-related macular degeneration. Results of the studies showed that Lucentis was more effective than laser therapy alone or intravitreal steroids in treating diabetic retinopathy. Macugen proved effective in improving visual acuity in patients with diabetic macular edema along with laser treatments when indicated. Results from the READ-2 and RESTORE trials, as well as another in a string from the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net) all indicated that Lucentis (ranibizumab) -- whether or not it was used in addition to laser therapy, and whether or not the laser treatment was prompt or delayed -- was more effective than laser therapy alone or intravitreal steroids. Similarly, the VEGF receptor antagonist Macugen (pegaptanib), compared with sham injections, improved visual acuity in patients with diabetic macular edema who also received laser treatments at treating clinicians' discretion. The idea that "sham injection" would be done is alarming to laypeople. However, from a scientific basis, it must be done to assure that it is not just the needle itself which is causing results. While the results of the studies are promising, researchers still caution that more needs to be known about the use of these medications for diabetic retinopathy. In addition, an appropriate dosing schedule needs to be determined along with the patient subgroups who are are most likely to benefit from the therapy.* Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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