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Intravitreal Triamcinolone Acetonide: A Change in a Paradigm

  • Jonas, Jost B.
Published Article
Ophthalmic Research
S. Karger AG
Publication Date
Aug 10, 2006
DOI: 10.1159/000093796
PMID: 16763379
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Background: Based on experimental studies and clinical observations by Robert Machemer, Gholam Peyman and others, the vitreous cavity has increasingly been used as a reservoir of drugs for the direct treatment of intraocular diseases. Methods and Results: The most widely injected drug so far has been triamcinolone acetonide for various intraocular neovascular and edematous diseases. Comparing the various diseases with respect to effect and side effects of the treatment, the best response in terms of gain in visual acuity has been achieved for intraretinal edematous diseases such as diffuse diabetic macular edema, branch retinal vein occlusion, central retinal vein occlusion, and pseudophakic cystoid macular edema. In eyes with various types of noninfectious uveitis including acute or chronic sympathetic ophthalmia and Adamantiadis-Behçet’s disease, visual acuity increased and the degree of intraocular inflammation decreased. Some studies have suggested that intra- vitreal triamcinolone may be useful as an angiostatic agent in eyes with iris neovascularization and proliferative ischemic retinopathies. Intravitreal triamcinolone may possibly be helpful as adjunct therapy for exudative age-related macular degeneration, particularly in combination with photodynamic therapy. In eyes with chronic, therapy-resistant ocular hypotony, intravitreal triamcinolone can induce an increase in intraocular pressure and may stabilize the eye. The complications of intravitreal triamcinolone therapy include secondary ocular hypertension in about 40% of the eyes injected; medically uncontrollable high intraocular pressure leading to antiglaucomatous surgery in about 1–2% of the eyes; posterior subcapsular cataract and nuclear cataract leading to cataract surgery in about 15–20% in elderly patients within 1 year after injection; postoperative infectious endophthalmitis with a rate of about 1:1,000; noninfectious endophthalmitis, perhaps due to a reaction to the solvent agent, and pseudoendophthalmitis with triamcinolone acetonide crystals appearing in the anterior chamber. Intravitreal triamcinolone injection can be combined with other types of intraocular surgery including cataract surgery, particularly in eyes with iris neovascularization. Cataract surgery performed some months after the injection does not show a markedly elevated complication rate. The injection may be repeated, if vision redecreases. In nonvitrectomized eyes, the duration of the effect and side effects of a single intravitreal injection of triamcinolone is about 6–9 months for a dosage of about 20 mg, and about 2–4 months for a dosage of 4 mg. It has remained unclear so far, whether and how to remove the solvent agent. In the future, intravitreal triamcinolone may be combined with other antiangiogenic drugs for the treatment of exudative age-related macular degeneration or with neuroprotective drugs for treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Conclusions: Despite an exponentially increasing number of mostly case-series studies, the intravitreal injection of triamcinolone may still be considered an experimental procedure until randomized studies have been presented.

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