BACKGROUND: We compared ranibizumab - a recombinant, humanized, monoclonal antibody Fab that neutralizes all active forms of vascular endothelial growth factor A - with photodynamic therapy with verteporfin in the treatment of predominantly classic neovascular age-related macular degeneration. METHODS: During the first year of this 2-year, multicenter, double-blind study, we randomly assigned patients in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive monthly intravitreal injections of ranibizumab (0.3 mg or 0.5 mg) plus sham verteporfin therapy or monthly sham injections plus active verteporfin therapy. The primary end point was the proportion of patients losing fewer than 15 letters from baseline visual acuity at 12 months. RESULTS: Of the 423 patients enrolled, 94.3% of those given 0.3 mg of ranibizumab and 96.4% of those given 0.5 mg lost fewer than 15 letters, as compared with 64.3% of those in the verteporfin group (P<0.001 for each comparison). Visual acuity improved by 15 letters or more in 35.7% of the 0.3-mg group and 40.3% of the 0.5-mg group, as compared with 5.6% of the verteporfin group (P<0.001 for each comparison). Mean visual acuity increased by 8.5 letters in the 0.3-mg group and 11.3 letters in the 0.5-mg group, as compared with a decrease of 9.5 letters in the verteporfin group (P<0.001 for each comparison). Among 140 patients treated with 0.5 mg of ranibizumab, presumed endophthalmitis occurred in 2 patients (1.4%) and serious uveitis in 1 (0.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Ranibizumab was superior to verteporfin as intravitreal treatment of predominantly classic neovascular age-related macular degeneration, with low rates of serious ocular adverse events. Treatment improved visual acuity on average at 1 year.
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