Eylea: A NICE approved new treatment

News that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the use of Eylea – a further drug to treat wet age-related degeneration (AMD) – has been well received by bodies such as the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) and ophthalmologists across the UK this week.


Until recently the only NICE approved treatment for wet AMD was ranibizumab, also known as Lucentis, administered monthly as an intravitreal injection into the vitreous humour. Not only can the treatment cause eye pain and vitreous floaters but Lucentis is also estimated to cost around £1,000 per shot.

The newly approved drug, Eylea, must also be intravitreally administered however this is done bimonthly without the need for monitoring between treatments. “[Fewer appointments are] particularly important for those patients who travel long distances for treatment or whose carers and family take repeated time off work to accompany the patient” says Ian Pearce, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

In addition Eylea should also take some strain off NHS eye care services, allowing more time to treat other patients.

Steve Winyard, RNIB’s Head of Campaigns, said “Some people with wet AMD do not respond to the current NICE approved treatment and another option could mean the difference between saving and losing their sight.” Eylea could mean more sufferers of wet AMD avoid vision loss.

In the UK, more than 26,000 people are diagnosed with wet AMD each year, and it is predicted that by 2015 there will be over 450,000 people with the condition. The RNIB have also found that just under 70% of patients are not diagnosed within seven days – in accordance with professional guidance – increasing the chances of permanent central vision loss.

By using the MPS II macular pigement screener eye care experts are now able to take reliable, accurate readings within 90 seconds. This allows the patient access to the correct medications and professional advice in order to prevent further development of AMD.

The loss of central vision is detrimental to everyday life. Simple tasks, often taken for granted, like recognising faces, using the telephone, and preparing meals become near impossible. With early detection and the correct treatment, however, people are able to delay the development of this vision threatening disease and prevent permanent damage. Therefore an additional treatment can only be a development to celebrate.

More information

Visit the Eylea website to discover how the drug may be beneficial to your practice.

For further details on AMD and how to detect it visit the website for the RNIB and their Spot the Signs campaign.

Find out more about the Macular Pigment Screener.

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