wetamdThe National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has today [May 31] announced that Eylea should be recommended for the treatment of patients with wet AMD in England and Wales.

This makes Eylea the first new medicine in ophthalmology to be fast-tracked to draft Final Appraisal Determination (FAD) without the need for additional consultation, and the first newly approved wet AMD therapy since Lucentis (ranibizumab) in 2007.

Like current treatments for wet AMD, Eylea is given as an injection into the eye. In the first year, treatment requires one injection every month for the first three months, followed by one injection every two months. Two clinical studies have shown that Eylea works as well as current treatment, but requires fewer hospital visits, which potentially reduces the burden for patients, relatives and the NHS.

Make life easier for patients
Commenting on the recommendation, Dr Sobha Sivaprasad, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and King’s College Hospital, said: “This decision will be welcomed by ophthalmologists across England and Wales as Eylea has the potential to relieve the considerable pressure currently on eye services.

“A fixed dose injection with Eylea every two months with no monthly monitoring inbetween is a welcome help as it can potentially reduce the number of hospital visits for most patients. This will make life easier for patients with wet AMD and their families, and will also help the NHS planning the future of eye care services.”

The current standard of care for the treatment of wet AMD is Lucentis, which was licensed more than six years ago. A spokeswoman from Novartis, the company which markets Lucentis in the UK, said: “Novartis welcomes NICE’s decision to recommend Eylea as an additional treatment option for those with wet AMD.”

The company notes that, according to the NICE Committee conclusions, Eylea does not offer any cost or efficacy advantages over Lucentis. “The differences in the modelled costs and quality-adjusted life years between the two treatments were very small,” the spokeswoman concluded