Bevacizumab Less Effective for Diabetic Macular Edema in Blacks

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28, 2020 — Black patients with diabetic macular edema are significantly less likely to show short-term visual improvement after one or three injections of bevacizumab, according to a study published online Oct. 9 in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Pawarissara Osathanugrah, from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues compared the impact of race and ethnicity on short-term efficacy of intravitreal bevacizumab therapy for diabetic macular edema. Data were included from 314 medical charts for a single-injection analysis and from 151 charts for a three-injection analysis.

The researchers found that after a single bevacizumab injection, 26.71, 39.39, and 50 percent of Black, Hispanic, and White patients, respectively, experienced improved visual acuity of at least 0.1 on the LogMAR scale. A similar pattern was seen in the three-injection analysis, with a significantly smaller proportion of Black patients experiencing improved visual acuity compared with Hispanic and White patients (33.82 versus 54.76 and 58.54 percent, respectively). The difference in the visual acuity response rate was not significant between the White and Hispanic groups after one or three injections. The percent central macular thickness reductions were 12.30, 17.01, and 20.66 percent in Black, Hispanic, and White patients, respectively, after one injection and 24.36, 16.13, and 25.38 percent, respectively, after three injections.

“The results from our study show a gap in treatment for black individuals with diabetic macular edema, despite the fact that they are more heavily impacted by this disease,” a coauthor said in a statement. “When clinical research trials don’t include enough diversity, it will not provide comprehensive data about the efficacy across different racial and ethnic groups, which as we can see, results in disparities in care.”

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