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4 December 2012
The Macular Disease Society has welcomed the licensing of a new treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration.
Eylea (aflibercept), made by Bayer, has been granted a licence for use in the EU. Eylea, also known as Vegf Trap Eye, works in a similar way to the current treatment, Lucentis, but its effects appear to last longer.
Chief Executive, Helen Jackman said: “We hope that this new treatment for wet age- related macular degeneration (wet AMD) will be good news for patients if it means people can keep their vision with fewer injections.
“Many elderly patients find frequent hospital appointments extremely hard. We also know that eye clinics are struggling to cope with the number of patients needing treatment. A recent survey by the Macular Disease Society suggested that 80% of eye clinics are failing to meet the recommended monthly follow ups for retreatment with Novartis' drug, Lucentis. This could be putting patients' sight at risk so a treatment which is needed less often would be welcome.
“However, with the number of people affected by AMD set to rise by a third by the end of this decade, it also suggests that even treatment with Eylea every 2 months may not be enough to relieve the pressure in eye clinics. We urgently need more investment in AMD services if the NHS is to meet demand for these sight saving treatments”.
Eylea will be appraised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and may not be widely available on the NHS until NICE approves it for use in the health service.