PURPOSE: To provide guidance on the management of patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration and its subtypes who respond poorly to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) therapy, and to identify cases where suspending anti-VEGF treatment may be warranted.
METHODS: Through a literature review and the combined knowledge and clinical experience of retinal experts, the Steering Committee of the Bayer-sponsored Vision Academy developed an algorithm for determining when to suspend anti-VEGF treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration in cases of futility.
RESULTS: Consideration of factors that may cause suboptimal response to anti-VEGF therapy, such as undertreatment or misdiagnosis of the underlying condition, and factors that may preclude continued treatment, such as injection- or drug-induced complications, is necessary for adjusting treatment protocols in patients who respond poorly to anti-VEGF. If poor response to treatment persists after switching to an alternative anti-VEGF agent and no change in response is observed after withholding treatment for a predetermined period of time ("treatment pause"), anti-VEGF treatment may be considered futile and should be suspended.
CONCLUSION: This publication introduces an algorithm to guide the management of neovascular age-related macular degeneration in patients showing poor response to anti-VEGF treatment and provides expert guidance for suspending anti-VEGF treatment in cases of futility.