Although intravitreal anti-VEGF treatment is the first-line therapy for many retinal diseases, the therapy’s systemic safety has sometimes been questioned. A recent study attempting to clear this up found no difference in the mortality rates between patients receiving intravitreal anti-VEGF treatment and controls.

This randomized clinical trial evaluated 34 studies of 8,887 participants who were followed for at least six months. Two investigators independently collected the data, analyzing it using two different prediction models.

The team’s first analysis yielded an average odds ratio estimate of 1.34, which was confirmed by their second analysis, which garnered average odds ratios of 1.34 and 1.40. Another analysis revealed an odds ratio of 1.12 and 1.06 for one additional injection.

“Additional data seem warranted to determine whether the mortality rate is increased in patients receiving a greater number of injections,” the study authors concluded in their paper.

Reibaldi M, Fallico M, Avitabile T, et al. Risk of death associated with intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy: a systemic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Ophthalmol. November 21, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].