New Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

09/19/2017

Healthy Living - September 19, 2017
Michael Johnson, MD

 
Johnson.jpgIn April, it was announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lucentis® for the monthly treatment of all forms of diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. The most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 and affects nearly 7.7 million people in the US. With this approval, Lucentis becomes the first and only FDA-approved medicine to treat diabetic retinopathy in people who have been diagnosed either with or without diabetic macular edema (DME), a complication of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the back of the eye.

Diabetes affects more than 29 million people in the US. The longer a person has diabetes, especially if it is poorly controlled, the higher the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina become damaged. This can cause vision loss or distortion when the abnormal vessels leak blood or fluid into the eye.

About Lucentis
Lucentis is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor designed to bind to and inhibit VEGF-A, a protein that is believed to play a critical role in the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and the hyperpermeability (leakiness) of the vessels.

Lucentis is FDA-approved for the treatment of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), macular edema after retinal vein occlusion (RVO), diabetic macular edema (DME), diabetic retinopathy and myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV).

Outside the US, Lucentis is approved in more than 110 countries to treat patients with wet AMD, for the treatment of DME, and due to macular edema secondary to both branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and visual impairment due to choroidal neovascularization (CNV).

Lucentis Important Safety Information
Patients should not use Lucentis if they have an infection in or around the eye or are allergic to Lucentis or any of its ingredients. Lucentis is a prescription medication given by injection into the eye and it has side effects. Some Lucentis patients have had detached retinas and serious infections inside the eye. If the eye becomes red, sensitive to light, or painful, or if there is a change in vision, patients should call or visit an eye doctor right away.

Some patients have had increased eye pressure before and within one hour of an injection.
Serious side effects include inflammation inside the eye and, rarely, problems related to the injection procedure such as cataracts. These side effects can make vision worse.

The most common eye-related side effects are increased redness in the white of the eye, eye pain, small specks in vision and increased eye pressure. The most common non-eye-related side effects are nose and throat infections, headache, lung/airway infections, and nausea.