Retina Specialists Warn of Beovu Vision Loss Problems: Report

A group of eye specialists indicate that side effects of Beovu may be linked to vision loss problems, sparking a safety review by the manufacturer of the new eye drug.

The warning was issued to members of the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) on February 23, indicating that the group is aware of 14 cases of retinal vasculitis, 11 of which are of a type, occlusive retinal vasculitis, which can lead to vision loss. Some eye doctors have since decided to stop carrying Beovu in their inventory.

On February 25, Novartis responded, indicating it stands behind the safety of the drug, but announced that it will conduct an internal assessment and an external review of the potential Beuvu vision loss side effects.

“Novartis’ review of this information is ongoing and classification of these ASRS-reported cases by Novartis has not been established but we are aware of recently reported adverse events following treatment with Beovu,” the company said in its statement.

Beovu was approved just a few months ago in October 2019, for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. It belongs to a class of drugs known as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy, or anti-VEGF. However, it is the only drug of this class linked to incidents of retinal vasculitis; a form of eye inflammation.

According to Novartis, about 46,000 Beovu injections have been administered since the drug was approved. The company indicates it has informed the FDA and other health agencies worldwide about the new safety reviews.

Beovu was only approved for use in Europe in early February.

Wet age-related macular degeneration affects about 20 million people worldwide. It is a chronic eye disorder which can caused blurred vision or blind spots. It usually occurs when abnormal blood vessels leak into the macula. The degeneration can be stopped, and sometimes vision loss can be reversed, if treated early enough.

1 Comments

  • PeterApril 16, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    If I am willing to assume the risk can I ask my eye doctor to inject Beovu? And more importantly is the doctor likely to consent to the treatment?

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