Aflibercept is a fusion protein construct consisting of the Fc portion of human IgG linked to the ligand binding domains of the VEGRF-1 and VEGRF-2 receptors. It binds with high affinity to (vascular endothelial growth factor) VEGF-A, VEGF-B, (placental growth factor) PlGF-1 and PlGF-2, and inhibits neovascularization and vascular permeability. It is the same medicine as ziv-aflibercept (Zaltrap®), which is marketed for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.
Aflibercept was first approved in 2011 for the treatment of neovascular (wet) age-related macular edema. Two phase III trials showed the aflibercept was not inferior to ranibizumab in maintaining visual acuity at 52 weeks. In 2012, an indication was added for macular edema following central retinal vein occlusion. Two phase III sham-injection controlled trials showed superior gain in vision with aflibercept at 24 weeks and at 52 weeks.â€¨In September 2014, based on positive results in two phase III trials (VIVID-DME and VISTA-DME) the FDAâ€¨has granted first Eylea injection Breakthrough Therapy designation and in March 2015 approved its use for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetic macular edema.
Since aflibercept is administered intravitreally, rather than systemically as is ziv-aflibercept, its major safety concerns are more limited. They include endophthalmitis, retinal detachments, increased intraocular pressure, as well as arterial thrombotic events such as strokes or myocardial infarctions. It comes under Pregnancy Category C.
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