Lucentis approved for treatment of Diabetic Macular Oedema

[02/08/2012]

Lucentis approved for treatment of Diabetic Macular Oedema


The Food and Drug Association (FDA) of USA have recently approved the use of Lucentis for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema. This is a big step forward for the prevention of blindness from diabetes.

The FDA has granted approval for Lucentis following reviews of 2 large studies known as the RISE and RIDE trials. These studies included over 700 patients with diabetic macular oedema and treatment with Lucentis resulted in improvement of 3 lines of vision in 40% of patients comparedthose 15% in those who did not receive Lucentis.

We know that diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in working age adults and the most common cause of visual loss is from diabetic macular oedema. The gold standard of treatment for diabetic macular oedema used to be laser and the aim of treatment was to stabilize vision and rarely would there be improvement in vision.

Since the landmark introduction of anti-VEGF injections in 2004, the retinal community have been very excited about the potential of these drugs in the management of retinal diseases. Lucentis had received approval to treat age related macular degeneration (AMD) since 2006 and that has revolutionized the treatment of this disease. Following that, Lucentis was then approved for treatment of macular oedema from retinal vein occlusions in 2010 and that has also changed the way this disease is treated.

A lot has been reported about the use of these anti-VEGF injections and the most popular ones being Avastin and Lucentis are always in the 'headlines' because of the huge discrepancy in the cost of each drug. The apparent equal efficacy of both drugs has been proven in the recent Comparison of AMD Treatment Trial (CATT) and it is not unreasonable to expect the two drugs to be equivalent in the treatment of vein conclusions and now diabetic macular oedema.

This approval by the FDA no doubt does not directly impact us in Malaysia as they have no regulatory role here in Malaysia, but this will go a long way as an endorsement of the efficacy of anti-VEGF treatment for diabetic macular oedema. In my practice, I have used both Avastin and Lucentis to treat diabetic macular oedema and knowing that Lucentis is now "officially" recognized, this gives me even more confidence to recommend this to my patients.