The FDA has granted approval to the age-related macular degeneration treatment Eylea, clearing the way to provide another form of treatment for the leading eye disease causing blindness in the elderly.
Similar to other macular degeneration drugs, Eylea inhibits the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. These abnormal blood vessels are charactestic for the most severe and fastest progressing form of the eye disease wet macular degeneration.
This new treatment blocks the formation of these abnormal blood vessels by inhibiting VEGF and a second similar factor.
Edward Cox, director of the FDA’s Office of Antimicrobial Products stated “Eylea is an important new treamtent option for adults with wet AMD (age-related macular degeneration). It is a potentially blinding disease and the availability of new treatment options is important.”
Two other macular degeneration drugs, Lucentis and Macugen, have been previously approved by the FDA. Macugen inhibits a single form of VEGF while Lucentis blocks all forms like the new treatment Eylea.
Eylea is given as an injection into the affected eye using a small needle.
The primary difference between Eylea and the other macular degeneration treatments is Eylea is given once every two months after three once-a-month injections. Lucentis is given once every month and Macugen is given once every six weeks.
During clinical trials, Eylea performed as well as Lucentis when treating wet macular degeneration but costs less. Eylea costs $1850 per dose whereas Lucentis costs $2000 per dose.
Side effects of Eylea were similar to other drugs injected into the eye and included bleeding in the white part of the eye at the injection site, eye pain, cataracts, detachment of the vitreous from the retina, floating spots in the field of vision and increased eye pressure in the eye.
With this new macular degeneration treatment available, patients now have options for treating this serious eye disease.