Drug Discov Ther. 2016;10(3):167-171. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2016.01037)
An ultra-low-molecular-weight heparin, fondaparinux, to treat retinal vein occlusion.
Steigerwalt Jr. RD, Pascarella A, De Angelis M, Ciucci F, Gaudenzi F
Retinal vein occlusions may decrease visual acuity. There is no known therapy to treat ocular thrombosis. The authors used fondaparinux, an ultra-low-molecular-weight heparin, to treat 13 consecutive cases of recent-onset retinal vein occlusions. Two patients with renal insufficiency were not included. Eight central retinal vein occlusions and 5 branch retinal vein occlusions in 13 patients were treated with subcutaneous fondaparinux 2.5 mg once a day. The patients were seen every 2 weeks. Macular edema was treated with intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor or steroids. Two patients elected to discontinue treatment. Of the remaining 11, 9 occlusions resolved in 1.5 to 13.5 months with rapid resolution of retinal edema and hemorrhage as soon as the occlusions resolved. One patient had a retinal vein that was still occluded after 8 months of therapy and 1 had retinal vein occlusion that partially resolved after 15 months of treatment. Of the 9 eyes with occlusions that resolved, visual acuity improved in 7. In 2, visual acuity decreased due to macular ischemia. Occlusion recurred in 1 2.5 months after the suspension of initial treatment. This patient is again being treated with fondaparinux 2.5 mg. No hemorrhaging occurred. Fondaparinux 2.5 mg can be given subcutaneously once a day to patients with recent-onset retinal vein occlusions without renal insufficiency. An occlusion may take a number of months to resolve. Once the vein occlusion has resolved, retinal edema and hemorrhage rapidly resolve and vision improves. Macular edema should be treated while waiting for the vein occlusion to resolve.