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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Eylea Outperforms Avastin for Diabetic Macular Edema with Moderate or Worse Vision Loss

A 2-year clinical trial that compared three drugs for diabetic macular edema (DME) found that gains in vision were greater for participants receiving the drug Eylea (aflibercept) than for those receiving Avastin (bevacizumab), but only among participants starting treatment with 20/50 or worse vision. Gains after 2 years were about the same for Eylea and Lucentis (ranibizumab), contrary to year-1 results from the study, which showed Eylea with a clear advantage. The three drugs yielded similar gains in vision for patients with 20/32 or 20/40 vision at the start of treatment. The clinical trial was conducted by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, which is funded by NEI.

“This rigorous trial confirms that Eylea, Avastin and Lucentis are all effective treatments for diabetic macular edema,” said NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving. “Eye care providers and patients can have confidence in all three drugs.” 

Eylea, Avastin and Lucentis are all widely used to treat DME, a consequence of diabetes that can cause blurring of central vision due to the leakage of fluid from abnormal blood vessels in the retina. The macula is the area of the retina used when looking straight ahead. The drugs are injected into the eye and work by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor, a substance that can promote abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage. 

Although the drugs have a similar mode of action, they differ significantly in cost. Study results were published online Feb. 29 in Ophthalmology.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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