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Trial Shows Drug Improved Vision For Macular Edema Patients

Women's eye closeup (Photos8.com)

(Photos8.com)

A clinical trial of the drug Lucentis made by Genentech indicates patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) who received the drug had improved vision compared to patients who received a placebo. Genentech, a division of the Roche Group in South San Francisco, California, says vision improvements among those receiving Lucentis began to occur within seven days.

DME is a condition characterized by swelling of the retina, which can occur in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and can cause blurred vision, severe vision loss, and blindness. Eye-related complications of diabetes are the leading cause of blindness in adults aged 20 to 74, and are estimated to cause 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness annually in the U.S.

Groups of the 125 patients in the trial received monthly doses of 0.3 or 0.5 mg of Lucentis, or a placebo. In seven days, patients receiving Lucentis could read on average about 5 more letters on a standard eye chart, compared to the placebo group. After 24 months, the Lucentis patients could read an average of about 12 more letters. In both time frames, the differences were statistically significant.

The trial also measured the amount of swelling in the patients’ retinas. Those receiving Lucentis started to experience less retinal swelling after one month, compared to the placebo group, and the reduced swelling continued after 24 months.

Lucentis is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor that the FDA has already approved as a treatment for neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion. VEGF is a protein that is believed to help form new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and cause leakiness of the vessels.

Read More: Macular Degeneration Drug Achieves Goal in Clinical Trial

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1 comment to Trial Shows Drug Improved Vision For Macular Edema Patients

  • Lucentis is useful in treatment of macular edema due to different causes such as macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, retinal vein occlusions and post cataract surgery. Although it is not approved by FDA most of these causes but it still be used by many ophthalmologists to treat these conditions.