Pain Control after Intravitreal Injection Using Topical Nepafenac 0.3% or Pressure Patching: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Richard I. Kaplan, Owen J. Drinkwater, Rachel H. Lee, Ross B. Chod, Alexander Barash, Jerome V. Giovinazzo, Daniel Gologorsky, Michael E. Jansen, Richard B. Rosen, Ronald C. Gentile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Pain after an intravitreal injection (IVI) can last up to 7 days and negatively impacts the patient's experience, potentially reducing treatment compliance. We prospectively evaluated topical nepafenac 0.3% suspension and patching for the reduction of pain after IVI. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Participants: Sixty patients receiving an IVI of bevacizumab, aflibercept, or triamcinolone acetonide in 1 eye. Methods: Participants were randomized equally to receive either a single drop of nepafenac 0.3%, a pressure patch for 2 hours, or a single drop of preservative-free artificial tears (control group). A single-blinded placebo-controlled design was used to mask the topical treatment used. Pain was assessed using the Numeric Pain Rating Scale that ranged from 0 to 10 (horizontal pain scale). Because pain scores were not normally distributed, statistical analysis was performed using a nonparametric randomization-based analysis of covariance. Main Outcome Measure: Pain scores. Results: Fifty-six and 53 patients of the 60 patients enrolled completed the 6- and 24-hour follow-ups, respectively. Numeric Pain Rating Scale scores at 6 and 24 hours after IVI were lower in the nepafenac group (0.8±0.3 and 0.1±0.1, respectively; n = 18) and the patching group (1.3±0.4 and 0.4±0.2, respectively; n = 19) compared with the control group (2.5±0.6 and 0.9±0.4, respectively; n = 19). After controlling for age, gender, number of prior injections, and physician administering the injection, patients in the nepafenac group reported significantly lower pain scores than those in the control group at 6 hours (1.3±0.6 less; P = 0.047) and 24 hours (0.7±0.3 less; P = 0.047). Although the patching group reported lower pain scores than the control group, this was not statistically significant (6 hours, P = 0.24; 24 hours, P = 0.29). Conclusions: Nepafenac 0.3% was effective as a single drop in reducing pain at 6 and 24 hours after IVI compared with placebo. Limited patching was associated with lower pain scores than placebo, but the difference was not statistically significant. Additional studies are needed to determine the most effective method to maximize the patient's experience after an IVI without sacrificing outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-866
Number of pages7
JournalOphthalmology Retina
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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