Iluvien is now available in the United States! Finally receiving FDA approval in late 2014, the injectable sustained release intravitreal implant is on the market.
Alimera Sciences states that Iluvien (sustained release of fluocinolone) will release its drug for up to 3 years.
Diabetic macular edema is the most common vision threatening complication of diabetic retinopathy. In essence, normal blood vessels of the retina become leaky due to the diabetic retinopathy.
Fluid accumulation in or near the center of the macula is called diabetic macular edema (DME). This is also known as clinically significant macular edema (CSME) if you are a doctor.
DME often causes blurry vision and in extreme cases can cause legal blindness.
Therapy is aimed at stopping the leakage. With time, the macular edema may “dry up.”
Iluvien is injected directly into the vitreous. The sustained release system will release fluocinolone for 3 years. The actual “pellet” is small enough to fit inside a 25 gauge needle. It is smaller and thinner than a grain of rice. You may click on the image to enlarge.
By injecting directly into the eye, as with all intravitreal injections, only small amounts of drug are needed to treat the retina.
The steroid will chemically stop the retinal vessels, affected by the diabetic retinopathy, from leaking.
While intravitreal drug delivery is not novel, the duration of the product is unique.
Constant treatment for 36 months may have huge practical advantages; namely fewer offices visits and less testing.
The economics of this are intriguing. The practical consequences are even more staggering. In short, this could mean far fewer trips to the retina specialist for the patient AND the family. Fewer office visits translates into fewer examinations and testing.