Introduction

The drug aflibercept (trade name Eylea) has been approved in Germany since October 2015 for adults with declining eye-sight due to myopic choroidal neovascularization.

Myopic choroidal neovascularization is caused by short-sightedness (myopia). This means the eyeball has grown to be so elongated that light focuses not on the retina but in front of it, making the image blurry. In addition, the retina (the light-sensitive layer of the eye) and the choroidea (the vascular layer of the eye) are stretched, causing tears in the membrane between the two layers. In order to repair these tears, new blood vessels grow from the choroidea to the retina. The formation of new blood vessels is called neovascularization.

These blood vessels may become “leaky,” allowing blood and fluid to seep into the retina, damaging the cells there or causing scarring. These changes in the retina can impair eye-sight more and more and lead to blindness in the long run.

Aflibercept is used with the aim of slowing down the formation of new blood vessels and decreasing the permeability of the vessels.

Application

Aflibercept is injected once into the vitreous body of the eyeball. This injection is given under local anesthetic. One injection contains 2 mg of the drug.

If the treatment is not successful or the condition returns, the injection can be repeated. There should be at least four weeks between injections.

Other treatments

For people whose eye-sight has declined due to myopic choroidal neovascularization the drug ranibizumab is the standard therapy.

Assessment

In 2016, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of aflibercept compared with the standard therapies for adults with visual impairment due to myopic choroidal neovascularization.

But the manufacturer did not provide any suitable data with which to answer this question.

More information

This information summarizes the main results of a review produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The review was commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the review and the hearings received, G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of aflibercept (Eylea).

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