Ocriplasmin receives NICE recommendation for treatment of vitreomacular traction

Oct 30, 2013

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended ocriplasmin (Jetrea) as a clinically effective and cost-effective treatment option for patients suffering from vitreomacular traction, including that associated with macular hole of ? 400 ?m when an epiretinal membrane is absent, or adults with vitreomacular traction and severe symptoms, when an epiretinal membrane and macular hole are both absent.

Basel, Switzerland-The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended ocriplasmin (Jetrea, Novartis/Alcon) as a clinically effective and cost-effective treatment option for patients suffering from vitreomacular traction, including that associated with macular hole of ≤ 400 μm when an epiretinal membrane is absent, or adults with vitreomacular traction and severe symptoms, when an epiretinal membrane and macular hole are both absent.

Vitreomacular traction and macular hole are age-related, and may lead to visual distortion and central blindness. Until the approval of ocriplasmin in March 2013 by the EU commission, treatment of vitreomacular traction involved “watchful waiting,” comprised of a period of patient observation until patients worsened and became eligible for surgical treatment. Surgery was reserved for patients who were heavily impacted by the symptoms of vitreomacular traction due to its potential risks and complications.

With this current recommendation, ocriplasmin, delivered as a single once-only injection to the eye, is recommended for use within the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales as the first and only pharmacologic treatment for vitreomacular traction. Clinical trials have shown that within 28 days of injection, about 1 out of 4 patients experience resolution of vitreomacular adhesion. In addition, over 40% of treated patients achieve macular hole closure by day 28.

“People affected by vitreomacular traction can suffer vision changes that have a significant impact on their lives, making it difficult to do everyday activities like reading, watching television, and driving,” said Tim Jackson, retinal surgeon, King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London. “Until now, eye doctors have only had surgical options to treat this disease, once it progressed to a severe stage. This new treatment is a welcome advance, meaning some patients can now avoid surgery, and others who might not be suitable for surgery can now be treated,” he concluded.

x