Brand Name: Eylea
Generic Name: aflibercept
Medication Class: ophthalmic agent; vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and placental growth factor (PLGF) antagonist
Similar Drugs: Lucentis (ranibizumab)
FDA Approval Date: November 2011
What is Eylea and its mechanism of action?
Eylea is a genetically engineered (recombinant DNA) antibody. It is a protein that blocks the action of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and placental growth factor (PLGF). VEGF-A and PLGF are growth factors, proteins that promote new blood vessel growth (neovascularization) and increase the permeability of blood vessels in the eye. Excessive production and growth of new, leaky blood vessels in the eye occur when too much VEGF-A and PLGF are produced in people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetes. Eylea binds to VEGF-A and PLGF growth factors, preventing them from binding and activating their corresponding receptors. Ultimately, Eylea reduces the growth of abnormal and leaky blood vessels, reducing the symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema.
What is Eylea used for treating?
Eylea is used for treating the following conditions:
Wet (Neovascular) AMD is a common eye condition where the macula, a small area near the center of the retina that is responsible for sharpness in our central vision, is damaged. Specifically, wet AMD occurs when new and leaky blood vessels begin to grow in the macula. It is the leading cause of vision loss among people 50 or older. Symptoms usually start with blurriness in the central vision as it develops larger. In the US, the prevalence of neovascular AMD in people 40 years and older is about 1.47% (1.75 million people).
Macular Edema following Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) is the swelling of the macula. It occurs when the vein that carries blood to the retina is blocked. As blood builds up in the area of blockage, fluid is leaked into the macula, causing macular edema. In the US, there are about 36,000 new cases of central RVO each year. Blockage can happen in the smaller retinal veins known as a Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO) or in the central retinal vein (located at the optic nerve) known as a Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO). CRVO is usually more serious because it causes total central vision loss.
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is the swelling of the macula due to too much sugar (glucose) blocking and damaging blood vessels that carry blood to the retina. When blood vessels are blocked, fluid leaks into the macula, causing DME. DME occurs in about 30% of adults who have diabetes for at least 20 years. Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is an eye condition that occurs when retinal blood vessels are damaged, leaky, and blocked due to too much sugar in the blood. Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of vision loss in American adults. In the US, there are 7.69 million cases of diabetic retinopathy. By 2050, the number of diabetic retinopathy cases in Americans is expected to double to 14.6 million.