Which medications are indicated for treatment of diabetic retinopathy?

Updated: Sep 02, 2021
  • Author: Abdhish R Bhavsar, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Several medications are indicated for treatment of diabetic retinopathy. At present, these medications are administered into the eye by intravitreal injection. [49, 50]

Intravitreal triamcinolone is being used in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. A recent Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net) clinical trial demonstrated that although some reduction in macular edema occurred after intravitreal triamcinolone, this effect was not as robust as that achieved with focal laser treatment at the primary endpoint of 2 years. [16] In addition, intravitreal triamcinolone can have some adverse effects, including steroid response with intraocular pressure increase and cataracts.

Other medications used in clinical practice and in clinical trials include intravitreal aflibercept (Eylea) and ranibizumab (Lucentis). These medications are VEGF antibodies and antibody fragments, respectively. They can help reduce diabetic macular edema and neovascularization of the disc or retina. Combinations of some of these medications with focal laser treatment have been investigated in the DRCR.net clinical trials and have proven efficacy, as described above.

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