Elders who suffer from blinding eye diseases – age-related macular degeneration – will soon be able to get easier treatment option, a new study has promised.
A new study has shown that an implantable delivery system for a widely used medication to treat a blinding eye disease has enabled some patients to go 15 months in between treatments. This represents a vast improvement over the typical regimen of nearly monthly eye injections.
The findings were part of the Phase II clinical study. Researchers say the implant is not just about convenience; a more consistent treatment will also help people keep more of their vision. The study determined the time until a patient needed a refill of the implant. It also evaluated the effectiveness of three different concentrations of Lucentis compared with monthly injections of the drug.
Before Lucentis was introduced 12 years ago, people with wet AMD were almost certain to develop severe vision loss or blindness. Lucentis was the first treatment to slow the disease, allowing more than 90 percent of patients to keep their vision, according to clinical trials. However, in the real world, the percentage is closer to 50 percent. One of the main reasons why is that patients are undertreated. This is because most people with AMD must go to the ophthalmologist’s office every six to eight weeks to keep their vision. This can be a difficult schedule to maintain for many elderly patients struggling with other maladies and reliant on others to get them to their ophthalmologist visits.
Researchers have been searching for a better alternative to monthly injections almost from the moment Lucentis was introduced. One of the latest ideas is to surgically implant a refillable drug reservoir device, slightly longer than a grain of rice, into the eye. Filled with a concentrated version of Lucentis, the device, called the port delivery system, delivers drug to the back of the eye over a longer time frame.
The study did find some side effects from surgery, but the overall safety profile was good. The device is not visible on the outside of the eye. It’s implanted under the eyelid, appearing, at most, as a tiny dot. After the initial surgery, it can be refilled during an office visit.