FDA Approves New Medication for Geographic Atrophy
When it comes to retinal care, researchers are always hard at work, trying to identify life-changing treatments. Thanks to their efforts, we now have the first and only FDA-approved treatment for geographic atrophy, a late-stage effect of advanced dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Syfovre™ (pegcetacoplan injection), an injectable medication, was shown in clinical testing to be both safe and effective.
Geographic Atrophy Explained
Geographic atrophy is a serious condition affecting more than one million Americans. It affects your central vision, which you rely on to perform activities such as driving, reading, and cooking. With geographic atrophy, lesions form inside the eye and zero in on the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which is a tissue that plays a critical role in the processes contributing to retinal metabolism.
This typically occurs when deposits of cellular debris known as drusen accumulate under the retina. Although a few smaller pieces of drusen will likely not cause any issues, a large amount can harm RPE cells, causing their performance to suffer. This can also cause cell death of the photoreceptor cells in the retina, which are responsible for detecting light as it enters your eye. This results in a loss of central vision. As of yet, the causes of geographic atrophy are clear, although certain risk factors associated with dry AMD may contribute, like:
- Age, specifically those 50 years of age or above
- A family history of age-related macular degeneration
- Not using protection from exposure to sunlight
- Having underlying chronic conditions, like diabetes
Aside from the depleted central vision, geographic atrophy can also cause reduced visual acuity, difficulties seeing in low-light conditions, colors appearing dull, and blind spots in your field of vision. Over time, permanent vision loss can set in.
A True Game-Changer for Retinal Health
For the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant approval means that a drug had to successfully pass multiple rounds of stringent testing and scrutiny. Two different clinical trials, both running 24 months, were conducted for Syfovre™. Known as the Phase 3 OAKS and DERBY studies, their results showed that Syfovre™ was safe and effective in treating geographic atrophy.
Q: How is Syfovre™ given?
A: You receive Syfovre™ as an injection delivered directly into the eye.
Q: How often is Syfovre™ administered?
A: Syfovre™ can be given every 25-60 days, allowing for flexibility with dosing.
Q: How does Syfovre™ work?
A: Syfovre™ seeks out a specific protein in the complement pathway, an immune system component. Research showed that Syfovre™ slowed lesion growth up to 36% between 18 and 24 months of the clinical trials. Its benefits only improved over time.
Q: What is Syfovre™ not effective for?
A: For patients living with early, dry AMD, Syfovre™ is ineffective. This medication also does not completely stop geographic atrophy progression.
Learn About Geographic Atrophy Treatments in Florida
Geographic atrophy is a significant, worsening health threat, requiring regular monitoring. The recent FDA approval of Syfovre™ signals a breakthrough for patients. You can learn more about the eligibility requirements, or address general retinal health questions, by scheduling a consultation with Retina Group of Florida.