Purpose: To evaluate the longer term safety of verteporfin therapy in Japanese patients with subfoveal classic choroidal neovascularization (CNV) due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Methods: Patients completing 12 months of the Japanese AMD Trial (JAT) were eligible to enter the extension phase if the investigator judged they would potentially benefit from further verteporfin therapy. Patients had follow-up visits every 3 months, receiving verteporfin therapy in the study eye if leakage from CNV was observed on fluorescein angiography. Mean change from baseline in best-corrected visual acuity was a safety variable in the extension. Results: Of the 51 patients entering the study extension, 46 (90%) completed 24 months. Adverse events were similar to those in the first 12 months of JAT; no cumulative toxic effect of verteporfin therapy was identified. Mean visual acuity letter score in the study eye increased from 50.8 (20/100+1 at baseline to 54.0 (20/80 -1) at month 24. At month 24, six patients (13%) had lost 15 or more letters of visual acuity, of whom four (9%) had lost 30 or more letters. Conclusion: Verteporfin therapy was shown to be safe and effective through 24 months in Japanese patients with subfoveal CNV due to AMD, supporting its long-term use in these patients.
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