Eylea – finally a serious competitor Lucentis?

Eylea (also known as aflibercept and VEGF Trap Eye) has now been approved and licensed in Europe. It’s UK launch is planned for the begninning of december 2012. With great success so far on the American market the manufacturer (Regeneron) and distributor (Bayer) are hopeful that it will make an impact on treatment of wet AMD in the UK. The benefits proposed include longer intervals between treatments, fewer review appointments and lower overrall cost. In the first year after three initial doses the recommendation is that an injection is given at a fixed two month interval. This has shown similar visual results to monthly lucentis. In the second year the dose interval and review interval is at the discretion of the doctor treating the patient. The benefits are gained though at the cost of a higher average number of injections in the first year.
In the second year the number of treatments required for Lucentis or Eylea patients is not dissimilar. Lucentis treatment is now being recommended on an individualised basis and most patients need 6 to 7 injections in their first year rather than a fixed 8 injections.
So what should you do, and is it better to have more injections and attend less or have fewer injections but go to the clinic for more appointments? The approach will very much depend on your individual case. There would appear to be no good reason to change treatment if you are having lucentis and only requiring infrequent injections. If you are requiring injections at most visit this might be due to the severity of disease which warrants more treatment or you may not be a responder to Lucentis so Eylea may help.
If you have been newly diagnosed you may be interested in starting on Eylea from the outset but your treatment options may be constrained by funding. Until there is national guidance through NICE it is unlikely that in most places Eylea will be available on the NHS until some time in 2013. If local health commissioners are convinced of the benefits in terms of cost and convenience for patients they may suggest usage pre-empting NICE guidance. In contrast with the Lucentis and Avastin debate, Eylea has the advantage of being a licensed treatment for the eye. Although in Manchester and Cheshire some commissioners still prefer Avastin because of it’s lower cost it’s usage has been on the decline since the Lucentis price cut agreed later earlier this year.
If you want to have an up-to-date review of your wet AMD and want to be considered for Eylea at the earliest opportunity then please request a consultation using the contact details on this website.