Patients with diseases such as wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy face the risk of severe vision loss, but research with injectable medications continues to offer these patients new hope. Here are some of the latest developments with two such medications.

Manufacturer: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The news: Earlier this year, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the Phase 3 PANORAMA trial evaluating EYLEA (aflibercept) Injection in moderately severe to severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) met its 24-week primary endpoint. In the trial, 58% percent of EYLEA-treated patients experienced a two-step or greater improvement from baseline on the Diabetic Retinopathy Severity Scale (DRSS) at week 24, compared to 6% of patients receiving sham injection.

What it is: EYLEA is part of the anti-VEGF class of drugs, which bind to the vascular endothelial growth factor protein to help keep blood vessels in the eye from leaking fluid. It is FDA-approved to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetic macular edema, and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion.

Possible side effects: The most common side effects reported in patients receiving EYLEA are increased redness in the eye, eye pain, cataract, moving spots in the field of vision, increased pressure in the eye and vitreous detachment. There is a potential risk of serious and sometimes fatal side effects related to blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke in patients receiving EYLEA. Serious side effects related to the injection procedure with EYLEA are rare but can occur including infection inside the eye and retinal detachment.

Manufactuerer: Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.
The news: Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, announced FDA approval of Lucentis (ranibizumab injection) 0.3 mg prefilled syringe for treating all forms of diabetic retinopathy in individuals with or without diabetic macular edema.

What it is: Also a VEGF inhibitor, Lucentis is FDA-approved for the treatment of patients with wet AMD, macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO), diabetic macular edema (DME), diabetic retinopathy (DR) and myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV).

Possible side effects: Some Lucentis patients have had detached retinas and serious eye infections. Some patients have had increased eye pressure before and within one hour of an injection. Uncommonly, Lucentis patients have had serious, sometimes fatal, problems related to blood clots, such as heart attacks or strokes. Some Lucentis patients have serious side effects related to the injection, including serious infections inside the eye, detached retinas, and cataracts. 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, anemia, nausea and cough.


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