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Lucentis approved for the treatment of diabetic macular edema

OCT diabetic macular edema

OCT cross-sectional scan through the macula of a patient with diabetic macular edema (swelling)

The FDA recently approved Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME) (swelling in the retina due to diabetes).

I am intimately familiar with Lucentis as I commonly use it to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In AMD, the use of Lucentis results in about a 94% rate of stabilizing vision (an amazing result considering that no treatment results in the major LOSS of vision) and an even more amazing 33-41% rate of MAJOR IMPROVEMENT in vision.

Given the results for AMD, I am excited to have Lucentis in my armamentarium for the treatment of DME. Historically, DME has been a difficult condition to treat. Even with the use of focal laser and intravitreal injections of steroid or Avastin (bevacizumab), the results have been plus/minus.

Study Results

After 2 years in Genentech‘s RISE and RIDE study, 57.2% of subjects who received monthly injections of Lucentis 0.3 mg (vs 36.2% of controls) improved their vision to at least 20/40. Furthermore, 39.2% of subjects (vs 15.2% of controls) gained 3 lines of vision. Patients who received Lucentis also required less macular (37.6% vs 72%) and panretinal (0.8% vs 11.7%) laser treatments.

The study also supported the idea that you will do better if you receive treatment earlier. Patients who waited 2 years before starting Lucentis injections had less vision gain than those who started two years prior.


Please feel free to leave questions or comments below.

Note: I have no financial relationship to any companies or products described above.


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