Supplement Deemed Effective, Cost-Saving in Wet AMD

Patients taking supplements would need fewer anti-VEGF therapies, researchers conclude

eye exam

THURSDAY, Aug. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- An inexpensive over-the-counter antioxidant/zinc supplement -- dubbed the "Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)" supplement -- may help preserve vision in older people and is also cost-effective, according to a study published online Aug. 23 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

To calculate the cost-effectiveness of AREDS supplements, Aaron Lee, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues looked at the use of the supplements in people over 55 years of age. The AREDS trial had concluded that a daily supplement combining high-dose antioxidants and zinc lowered the risk of developing wet age-related macular degeneration and slowed its progression.

Lee's team looked at two formulas of available supplements. Formula 1 has high doses of vitamins C and E, beta carotene, zinc, and copper. Formula 2 has lutein and zeaxanthin instead of beta carotene. The researchers used a statistical model with information from the AREDS trial, along with data from 92,976 people with macular degeneration in the United Kingdom.

The investigators found that both formulations were cost-effective for treating patients with early-stage disease, but they were even more cost-effective for those with the condition in only one eye. Over the course of a lifetime, the researchers found that these patients would need nearly eight fewer injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapies into their eye. That could lead to thousands of dollars in savings per patient over time, the team concluded.

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