The drug treatment Eylea has has been given approval for all stages of diabetic retinopathy in America following a successful clinical trial.
In the UK, Eylea, which is the trade name of aflibercept, is indicated for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), an eye condition related to retinopathy.
Within the US, Eylea already had a wider set of indications which included use for the treatment of DME and of retinopathy in people with DME.
Now, officials at America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have now given the approval for the medication to be used to treat all stages of diabetic retinopathy.
The FDA made the decision following the results of a clinical trial where the drug was used to treat early signs of retinopathy. It prevented the condition progressing into proliferative diabetic eye disease by 85-88%.
The drug is an injectable treatment which works by stopping the growth of abnormal blood vessels, lowering swelling and helping to reduce for the leakage and bleeding which can cause loss of vision.
The study involved 402 people and aimed to investigate whether the drug would the improve moderately severe to severe NPDR in people without DME.
Dr David Brown is the Director of Research at Retina Consultants of Houston and took part in the study. He said: “Millions of people have been robbed of their vision due to the progression of diabetic retinopathy. The prevention of worsening diabetic retinopathy with Eylea provides a compelling rationale for early treatment of patients with this disease, particularly since eyes dosed with Eylea as infrequently as every 16 weeks showed significant improvements in the pivotal PANORAMA trial.”
Dr George D. Yancopoulos, President and Chief Scientific Officer at manufacturer Regenero, added: “The PANORAMA trial showed that by one year 20% of untreated patients developed proliferative diabetic eye disease, and Eylea reduced this risk by 85% to 88% when administered using an every 16-week or eight-week dosing regimen, respectively. In fact, 80% of patients who received the Eylea eight-week dosing regimen had significant improvement in their diabetic retinopathy.”