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What is Eylea?
Eylea (also called aflibercept) is an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drug. Eylea received a UK license for treatment for wet AMD in late 2012. As well as being a potent anti-VEGF treatment it also blocks the effects of a chemical called placental growth factor (PlGF) which is also thought to be a factor in wet AMD.
What does the treatment involve?
The procedure itself is quick and painless but is done with the greatest of care in a special clean room. There are very small risks associated with treatment. Time is required to prepare the eye with anesthetic and antiseptic to minimize pain and reduce risk of infection. The dosing regime in the first year is a fixed 7 injections over seven visits. After the first year the dosing and review will depend on your track record in the first year. The benefit of Eylea is the potential for fewer appointments and a fixed dosing regime.
How does it compare to other treatments?
Eylea has been studied and compared with monthly injections of Lucentis. Large studies have shown that Eylea given as a fixed regime of injections, the first three monthly and subsequent doses every two months is as effective as giving Lucentis every month.
This gives a potential benefit of not having to attend the hospital as often because monthly review appointments are not necessary in between the two-monthly injections.
Are there any risks?
The potential risks include injection related risks and drug related risks. It is common after the procedure to have varying degrees of redness and irritation. This usually settles down within a few days.
Serious potential risks include:
eye infection, bleeding within the eye and retinal detachment are reported by less than 1% of patients.