A new drug, Eylea, has been approved for the treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema.
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is a common eye complication of diabetes, affecting around 7% people with diabetes and 29% of people that have been on insulin for more than 20 years. DME is a form of retinopathy which, if left untreated, leads to moderate loss of vision in around a third of patients.
Eylea, which is manufactured by Bayer and has the generic medical name aflibercept, is the latest drug to receive European approval for treating Diabetic Macular Edema. Whilst Eylea has been launched in the UK, as well as in Europen, the medication is yet to be approved by NICE.
Eylea is in a class of drugs known as Anti-VEGF drug which are injected into the eye and help to prevent new blood vessel growth which poses a risk to vision. Currently, the only Anti-VEGF drug with UK approval to treat Diabetic Macular Edema is Lucentis (ranibizumab). Another drug for treating diabetic macular edema that is also up for approval consideration by NICE is Iluvien (fluocinolone acetonide).
The increased competition within this area of treatments is a positive sign for people with diabetes. Currently, whilst Lucentis is available, its availability is limited, largely on account of its cost which is hundreds of pounds per injection.

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