Good news for diabetics! A new drug approved Beovu (brolucizumab) by the FDA to treat diabetic macular edema in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This medication may be able to protect you or someone you care about from diabetes-related vision loss.

One of the most common diabetes-related eye complications and causes of vision loss is diabetic macular edema (DME). DME affects approximately 12% of people with type 1 diabetes and 28% of people with type 2 diabetes. This condition is also one of the leading causes of blindness and vision loss in the world.

When blood vessels in the eyes become damaged, fluid begins to leak into the macula, a part of the retina responsible for a person’s most vivid, central vision. This buildup is frequently caused by the formation of new small blood vessels in the macula, which is triggered by the hormone VEGF. Beovu is a VEGF inhibitor, a type of medication that prevents the formation of new blood vessels in the macula and thus helps to prevent further fluid buildup.

Beovu was approved by the FDA in 2019 for another diabetes-related eye condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is another leading cause of blindness, prior to its new indication as a treatment for DME. In March 2022, the drug was also approved for DME in Europe.

Beovu’s approval for DME follows positive results from two phase 3 clinical trials, KESTREL and KITE. In these trials, Beovu was compared to Eylea, a similar eye medication that is currently the standard treatment for DME. When compared to the impact of Eylea, people taking Beovu had similar improvements in visual acuity (ability to distinguish shapes and objects) and reductions in fluid buildup.

Furthermore, while both drugs provided comparable overall improvements in vision, Beovu requires fewer doses to achieve the same effect. Both Beovu and Eylea are administered via eyeball injection, which necessitates a trip to the clinic. Participants in the KESTREL and KITE studies who received Eylea received one injection per month for the first five months, followed by injections every eight weeks. In comparison, Beovu participants received five injections six weeks apart, followed by injections every 12 weeks. While the frequency of this treatment varied depending on the needs of the individual, in both studies, more than half of Beovu participants maintained the 12-week intervals throughout the two-year study.

Following the approval of the new drug Vabysmo in February 2022, the approval of Beovu as a treatment for DME represents another advancement in the treatment options for diabetes-related eye diseases. Fewer injections could significantly reduce the burden of receiving eye treatments required to protect against vision loss. For people with DME, this means fewer clinic visits, fewer eye injections, and potentially lower treatment costs due to the need for fewer doses.

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Source: diatribe.org

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