Background: Anti-VEGF agent ranibizumab has been extensively used as a
standard treatment for wet AMD. We investigated whether traditional Chinese medicine
could serve as a complementary therapy for this disease.
Methods: 144 patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration received
either intravitreal ranibizumab treatment as needed plus placebo or intravitreal
ranibizumab treatment as needed plus an FDA approved traditional Chinese patent
medicine named ZQMT. Both groups received treatment for 24 weeks. The primary
outcome was the mean change of visual acuity at week 24 as compared to the baseline.
Results: We found that intravitreal ranibizumab treatment plus ZQMT was non-inferior
to the treatment with intravitreal ranibizumab alone in improving visual acuity scores at
week 24 with patients in both groups who gained substantial numbers of letters. In
addition, we found that ZQMT treatment resulted in significant improvements in reducing
retinal hemorrhage, fluid, and lesion size. Importantly, administration of ZQMT reduced
the number of needed ranibizumab injections (P<0.0001, analysis of variance) in wet
AMD patients leading to a significant reduction of drug cost.
Conclusion: The combinatory therapy of ranibizumab and traditional Chinese patent
medicine ZQMT had equivalent effects on visual acuity improvement and safety profiles
as the ranibizumab treatment alone. Ranibizumab injections coupled with ZQMT offer
therapeutic advantages in terms of reduction of retinal lesions and ease the financial
burden of patients undergoing treatment by reducing the frequency of necessary