A new medication has been approved for use in the United States and Europe that may prevent Macular Degeneration from developing.
Jetrea (ocriplasmin), has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Commission for symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA), an eye condition related to aging that left untreated can lead to a range of eye disorders, including macular pucker, macular hole, AMD (age-related macular generation), retinal tears, detachment, and macular edema. VMA occurs when the vitreous gel adheres too strongly to the retina.
Dr. David Hilford discussed the new treatment at Australian Vision Conference on the Gold Coast in early April. He said Jetrea “causes the vitreous to liquify and separates the vitreous and vitreo retinal interface… for the right patients, an injection – not surgery – an injection in the eye (will) cause separation of the vitreo retinal interface”. He said the right patients are those with “a bit of traction, a small macular hole and no epiretinal membranes”.
“I don’t know whether it will be the final answer to vitreoretinal interface, but it’s the start,” said Dr. Hilford.
The treatment involves just one injection…
Prior to approving Jetrea, the FDA examined results from two clinical studies of a total of 652 patients with symptomatic VMA. Patients were randomly selected to receive an injection of Jetrea or a placebo. The results showed that VMA was resolved in 26 per cent of the Jetrea patients and VMA was resolved in 10 per cent of the placebo patients. The difference between 26 per cent and 10 per cent was deemed “statistically significant”.
There were side effects reported by patients in the trial, which included: bleeding of the conjunctiva; blurred vision; eye floaters; macular edema; pain in the eye; photopsia (seeing flashes of light); retinal swelling (edema); unclear vision and vision loss.
The recommended Jetrea dose is 0.1mL (0.12rmg) of the diluted solution administered by intravitreal injected to the affected eye. The treatment involves just one injection. Jetrea is provided as a single use glass vial, which contains 0.5mg in 0.2mL solution for intravitreal inject (2.5mg/mL).
Jetrea was developed by ThromboGenics. Alcon, an eye care division of Novartis, has acquired the rights to commercialise Jetrea outside of the United States.