Purpose. To describe intravitreal anti-VEGF drug and dexamethasone use in four Italian regions. Methods. Four regional claims databases were used to measure drug prevalence, compare dosing intervals to those recommended in the summary of product characteristics (SPC), and identify switchers. Bilateral treatment and diabetic macular edema (DME) coding algorithms were validated, linking claims with a sample of prospectively collected ophthalmological data. Results. Overall, 41,836 patients received ≥1 study drug in 2010-2016 (4.8 per 10,000 persons). In 2016, anti-VEGF drug use ranged from 0.8 (Basilicata) to 5.7 (Lombardy) per 10,000 persons while intravitreal dexamethasone use ranged from 0.2 (Basilicata) to 1.4 (Lombardy) per 10,000 persons. Overall, 40,815 persons were incident users of study drugs. Among incident users with ≥1 year of follow-up (N = 30,745), 16.0% (N = 4,890) had only one pharmacy claim, especially for ranibizumab (60.9%). Switching occurred in 8.0% of users with ≥2 pharmacy claims (N = 33,637). The algorithms had an accuracy of 83.8 (95% CI: 79.7-87.3) concerning bilateral treatment and 72.3% (95% CI: 67.5-76.8) for DME. Conclusion. Study drug use increased over time in Lombardy, Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicily, despite a large heterogeneity in prevalence of use across regions. Drug treatment appeared to be partly in line with SPC, suggesting that improvement in clinical practice may be needed to maximize drug benefits.
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)