Researchers say that the drug Eylea is more efficient than Avastin during the first year of treatment. Patients with diabetic macular edema had better vision gains following the new prescription after a two-year clinical trial.
In patients suffering from mild vision loss, Eylea was found to be as efficient as other drugs on the market for DME, but the potential adverse effects now offer doctors a safer alternative.
DME is a side effect of diabetes and involves the blurring of the macula, the part of the retina we use for central vision. This blurring is caused by blood vessels leaking fluid from into the retina.
One of the treatments for this progressive disease involves injecting a drug into the eye, which prohibits the production of the vascular endothelial growth factor, a substance that contributes to the abnormal blood vessel growth and the consequent leakage.
According to a recent estimate, roughly 750,000 of the 7.7 million people in the U.S. living with diabetic retinopathy also suffer from DME. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration had approved Eylea for use in DME patients.
Dr. John Wells, a retinal specialist working with the Palmetto Retina Center, said in a press release that this study suggests just a small advantage of choosing Eylea over Avasting when it comes to patients who have mild visual loss caused by macular edema.
However, when the patient’s visual acuity dropped from 20/40 to 20/50 or worse, the Eylea drug turned to have greater benefits, as it outperformed Avastin and Lucentis in the two-year study.
For the trial, researchers with the National Institutes of Health enrolled 660 DME patients at 89 sites in the U.S., who averaged at 61 years old. All of the patients had been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes for at least a year.
The results, which are featured in the journal Ophthalmology, were based on the patients being randomly treated with Eylea, Lucentis or Avastin for two years.
Among the patients with initial with 20/40 vision, the improvement was roughly the same – averaging at 20/25. However, when the patients started out with 20/50 vision or worse at the onset of the trial, the vision was found to improve significantly over the course of two years.
After the first year of the study, Eylea patients reported better results; however, on the long-term, the three drugs seemed to have similar results, which means doctors can opt for the one they think its best for a patient’s condition.
Image Source: Ingalls Health System