American researchers have recommended the UK government funds AREDS supplements for people with wet AMD in one eye.
The recommendation follows a study that evaluated the costeffectiveness of using AREDS 1 and 2 supplements in patients with either bilateral intermediate AMD (AREDS category 3), or unilateral neovascular agerelated macular degeneration (nAMD), (AREDS category 4) in a Markov model of 100,000 virtual patients in each arm.1
AREDS 1 formula contains high doses of vitamins C and E, beta carotene, zinc and copper. AREDS 2, released in May 2013, replaced beta carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin, but the other constituents remained the same.
Published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the study found both formulas, combining antioxidants with zinc and copper, provide a relatively inexpensive and effective means of slowing the progression of wet AMD. Importantly, it found the formulas were particularly cost effective for patients with wet AMD in just one eye.
AREDS 2, released in May 2013, replaced beta carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin, but the other constituents remained the same
Study author Dr. Aaron Lee, a vitreoretinal surgeon in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Washington, noted that over a lifetime, category four patients with wet AMD in one eye treated with the AREDS formula would benefit from 10.59 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) compared with 10.43 for those not given the supplements. Additionally, they would need nearly eight fewer injections of anti-VEGF therapies delivering a saving of approximately AU$4,000 over their lifetime.