In an NIH-supported clinical trial comparing three drugs for diabetic macular edema (DME), Eylea (aflibercept) provided greater visual improvement, on average, than did Avastin (bevacizumab) or Lucentis (ranibizumab) when vision was 20/50 or worse at the start of the trial. However, the three drugs resulted in similar average improvement when starting vision was 20/40 to 20/32. Investigators found no major differences in the safety of the three drugs. The trial was funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
“This comparative effectiveness study will help doctors and patients make informed decisions when choosing treatments for diabetic macular edema,” said NEI Director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D. The trial was conducted by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net), which is funded by NEI. The results were published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
DME can occur in people with diabetic retinopathy, a type of diabetic eye disease that can cause the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. The macula is the area of the retina used when looking straight ahead, for tasks such as reading, driving, and watching television. Macular edema, or swelling, occurs when fluid leaks from retinal blood vessels and accumulates in the macula, distorting vision. Macular edema can arise during any stage of diabetic retinopathy and is the most common cause of diabetes-related vision loss. About 7.7 million Americans have diabetic retinopathy. Of these, about 750,000 have DME.
Read the rest of the NIH press release HERE