An injected drug called Eylea has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetic macular edema.
Patients who have diabetic retinopathy with macular edema can find abnormal new blood vessels growing on the surface of the retina. This can make it hard to focus clearly.
Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, and if those blood vessels break, severe vision loss or blindness can occur in patients.
What is Eylea?
Eylea (aflibercept) is marketed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytow, New York, and received FDA approval on Wednesday 25 June, 2014.
This was based on findings where patients taking Eylea displayed significant improvements in the severity of their diabetic retinopathy compared to participants not taking the drug.
Eylea is intended for use alongside appropriate measures to control blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure in patients. An injection into the eye would be administered once a month by a doctor for the first five injections – this would then be done once every two months.
Among the side effects of Eylea include eye pain, cataracts and increased pressure inside the eye, while retinal detachments are among the serious adverse reactions.
In February, Lucentis 0.3 mg (ranibizmub injection) was approved by the FDA to likewise treat diabetic retinopathy in patients with macular edema, with Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research saying approval of Eylea “gives patients with diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema another therapy to treat this vision-impairing complication.”