Treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) has evolved with the advent of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents such that intravitreally administered aflibercept and ranibizumab (RBZ) have become the standard of care. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have demonstrated the benefits of these agents in nAMD; however, results achieved under RCT protocols may not always be replicated in clinical practice. Assessing real-world outcomes is important to estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these two agents. Our objective was to assess the real-world effectiveness of intravitreally administered aflibercept and RBZ in treatment-naive patients with nAMD and determine the cost-effectiveness of intravitreally administered aflibercept versus RBZ in a real-world setting.
A multistage approach was undertaken. A systematic literature review (SLR) was completed to identify studies describing real-world outcomes in patients with nAMD treated intravitreally with aflibercept or RBZ. A meta-analysis of data identified in the SLR generated a pooled estimate of the effectiveness of intravitreally administered aflibercept and RBZ at 52 weeks and an estimate of treatment burden (injection frequency and monitoring). The impact of treatment effect modifiers, such as baseline visual acuity (VA) and age, were corrected through a multivariable meta-regression. A Markov state transition model was developed to estimate the real-world cost-effectiveness of intravitreally administered aflibercept using results from the pooled estimates for effectiveness and treatment burden as primary inputs. The analysis considered the perspective of the French National Healthcare System.
Patients treated intravitreally with aflibercept had a mean age of 79.52 years and mean baseline VA of 55.80 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) letters. At week 52, mean VA gain was 5.30 ETDRS letters in patients reporting an average of 7.10 intravitreal injections of aflibercept and 8.65 visits (injection and/or monitoring). RBZ-treated patients were younger (77.28 years), with a lower mean baseline VA (52.81 ETDRS letters). At week 52, mean VA gain from baseline was 4.24 ETDRS letters, with an average of 5.88 injections and 10.10 visits (injection and/or monitoring). After correcting for differences in age (77.28 years) and baseline VA (52.81 ETDRS letters) and considering the current clinical practice with aflibercept and RBZ, the mean VA gain was 6.57 ETDRS letters for patients treated intravitreally with aflibercept and 4.42 ETDRS for patients treated intravitreally with RBZ. The cost-effectiveness analysis showed that intravitreally administered aflibercept is a more effective treatment option with an incremental gain in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) (4.918 versus 4.880) and an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of €27,087 per QALY.
The analysis identified differences in the overall treatment approach and how ophthalmologists use intravitreally administered aflibercept and RBZ in clinical practice. These differences ultimately influence the mean real-world effectiveness of the two agents. Intravitreal treatment with aflibercept (injection frequency and patients follow-up) was consistent and in line with the European label recommendations. Patients treated intravitreally with aflibercept in clinical practice reported a mean gain in VA of similar magnitude to the mean VA gain reported in the pivotal RCT. Conversely, treatment with RBZ varied significantly across the different studies. On average, RBZ-treated patients reported a low injection frequency and a frequent follow-up, driven in part by the high number of patients treated with pro re nata (PRN) regimens. RBZ-treated patients reported gains in VA versus baseline; however, the magnitude of the gain in VA was not comparable to the VA gains reported in the RBZ pivotal RCT. Intravitreal treatment with aflibercept was associated with better mean VA outcomes and an incremental gain in QALYs compared with RBZ and can be considered cost-effective for the treatment of nAMD in patients in France despite a higher price for each individual intravitreal injection of aflibercept compared with RBZ.