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Published on 7 June 2011

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NICE recommends retinal vein occlusion treatment

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended Ozurdex® (dexamethasone 0.7mg intravitreal implant in applicator) for the treatment of macular oedema due to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and also for branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) where laser photocoagulation is neither beneficial nor appropriate.

RVO is an eye condition that can lead to severe damage to the retina, visual impairment and even blindness. The visual impairment that often results from RVO can significantly impact on patients’ quality of life and ability to do everyday things, such as reading a newspaper, watching a film or driving. Up to 25,000 patients in the UK every year suffer from macular oedema associated with RVO and may be suitable for treatment with Ozurdex.

Ozurdex is an innovative, first-of-its-kind biodegradable intravitreal implant containing dexamethasone, a highly potent corticosteroid, administered via a specially designed, single use applicator. Dexamethasone is slowly released from the implant into the eye and acts locally to control oedema, reduce inflammation around the occlusion and improve vision. A single injection can offer long lasting improvement with benefits demonstrated to last for up to six months.

Mr Ian Pearce, Consultant Ophthalmologist and the Clinical Expert representative of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists said: “The availability of a licensed, effective and now NICE recommended treatment is a significant step forward for management of RVO patients in England and Wales and we look forward to ophthalmologists providing the treatment ASAP.”

“RVO is the second most common cause of reduced vision due to retinal vascular disease. The decision announced today represents the first NICE recommendation for a licensed treatment for macular oedema associated with RVO and with it NICE has made available to retinal specialists and their patients an important treatment for this potentially devastating condition,” said Mr Douglas D. Ingram, Executive Vice President, President, Allergan, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “We look forward to working with retinal specialists, hospitals and commissioning groups in the UK to support the National Health Service in rapidly adopting this cost effective solution to maximise patient benefits and to minimise premature vision loss as a result of RVO.”

“We are really pleased with this decision from NICE to recommend that suitable patients with RVO are treated with Ozurdex on the National Health Service. As with many other eye conditions, it is really important that RVO is treated as early as possible. Anyone noticing any change in their vision should have their eyes checked as soon as possible,” said Barbara McLaughlan, Policy and Campaigns Manger for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Allergan



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