Better Drug Options for Macular Edema

Better Drug Options for Macular Edema

According to the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, which is funded by the National Eye Institute and the National Institute of Health, a two-year clinical trial designed to compare three separate drugs for macular oedema has determined that test subjects that received Eylea (aflibercept) found greater gains in vision than test subjects receiving Avastin (bevacizumab). These results were only found in patients that began the treatment with 20/50 vision or below.

A similar one-year study showed that Eylea performed much better against Lucentis (ranibizumab), however those results have evened between the two drugs over the course of the two year trial. All three drugs performed very similarly among patients starting with vision between 20/32 to 20/40.

Commenting on the tests,NEI Director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D said “This rigorous trial confirms that Eylea, Avastin, and Lucentis are all effective treatments for diabetic macular oedema. Eye care providers and patients can have confidence in all three drugs.”

The three drugs, Eylea, Avastin, and Lucentis, are commonly prescribed to treat macular oedema, which is a consequence of diabetes. Diabetic macular oedema causes abnormal blood vessels to form within the eye, which then leak fluid into the retina, causing progressive blurring of vision in the center of the field of view. All three medications are administered as an injection directly into the eye, and are designed to inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which stimulates the growth of abnormal blood vessels.

Although the three drugs function similarly to one another, they differ greatly in cost, from as little as £40 ($60) for Avastin, £850 ($1200) for Lucentis and £1300 ($1850) for Eylea.

The study involved 660 participants, with an average age of 61 between them, and approximately 17 years of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

by Martin Burns

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