New FDA Approved Treatment for People With Diabetic Macular Edema

New FDA approved treatment now available for patients with diabetic macular edema (DME).

A new treatment is available for patients with diabetic macular edema (DME), an eye condition in people with diabetes that causes blurred vision, severe vision loss and sometimes blindness.

Recently, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lucentis® (ranibizumab injection), manufactured by South San Francisco-based Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is now the leading cause of new cases of blindness in American adults. DME affects approximately more than 560,000 Americans with diabetes.

“With the FDA’s approval of the Lucentis therapy, doctors can now begin treating their patients who have DME,” said Dr. Daniel Kiernan of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island. “This important advancement in treating DME will certainly make a difference in the lives of diabetic patients struggling with blurred vision and vision loss.”

Lucentis is the first and only FDA approved medicine for DME.  According to one study, standard care for DME in the US had been laser surgery, which slowed the rate of vision loss and helped stabilize vision, but demonstrated only limited ability to restore lost vision.

Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head, Global Product Development for Genentech made the following statement in a press release issued by the company on August 10: “For the first time, Americans with diabetic macular edema will have access to an FDA-approved medicine shown to help many patients rapidly regain substantial amounts of lost vision. We developed Lucentis to treat diseases of the eye and are pleased to have received this third U.S. indication to help a new population of people whose eyesight may be affected by diabetes.”

Lucentis is available by prescription only. For more information about Lucentis, please talk to your doctor.

About DME: DME is swelling of the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. DME begins with diabetes, which can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye over time. When this happens, a patient is said to have diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease. The damaged blood vessels can leak blood and fluid, causing swelling and blurred vision, severe vision loss and sometimes blindness. (Source: National Eye Institute)

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