PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and evidence of efficacy for oral 13-cis retinoic acid as a treatment for patients with subfoveal occult choroidal neovascularization (CNV) due to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). METHODS: Patients with active, subfoveal occult CNV with no prior treatment of the subfoveal component were eligible for inclusion. Patients received 40 mg of 13-cis retinoic acid twice daily for 5 months, stopped treatment for 2 months, and then resumed treatment for 5 months. Patients were observed monthly with Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) visual acuity (VA), clinical examination, fluorescein angiography, and laboratory testing. RESULTS: Eleven patients, aged 64 to 88 years, were enrolled and followed for 1 year. Initial VA ranged from 55 (20/40) to 5 (20/400) ETDRS letters (median 48 letters). Mild drug-related side effects (dry skin, chapped lips) occurred in all 11 patients. Three patients experienced more severe side effects (muscle aches, mood swings) and did not resume treatment after the drug holiday. Moderate VA loss occurred in 36% at both 6 and 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Oral 13-cis retinoic acid is too toxic to be useful in patients with ARMD. Oral 13-cis retinoic acid did not improve vision although it may have slowed visual acuity loss in patients with ARMD with occult subfoveal CNV.
- 13-cis retinoic acid
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Predominantly occult choroidal neovascularization
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