A biodegradable implant to help with eye disease has been added to the PBS, for patients who are intolerant or resistant to systemic corticosteroids
Ozurdex (dexamethasone 700µg) sustained-release intravitreal implant is now available on the PBS for patients with non-infectious posterior segment uveitis.
Uveitis is a general term describing a group of inflammatory diseases which are characterised by inflammation within the eye that can result in swelling and damage to the tissues within the eye.
Although rare, it is a serious condition which, if left untreated or not treated correctly, can lead to complications such as macular oedema and severe vision loss.
“Until now, the mainstay treatments for uveitis have included systemic corticosteroids, locally applied corticosteroid drops and off-label intra-ocular or periocular corticosteroid injections,” says Associate Professor Lyndell Lim, from the Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne and Specialist Ophthalmologist and Senior Associate at Eye Surgery Associates.
“However, many patients are intolerant or resistant to systemic corticosteroids, and long-term use can result in serious side effects including osteoporosis, diabetes and hypertension.
“While corticosteroid drops are an alternative option in anterior uveitis, they are ineffective in posterior and intermediate uveitis, which are responsible for most of the severe vision loss related to uveitis.”
Ozurdex is a biodegradable, intravitreal implant containing 700µg dexamethasone.
It is injected directly into the posterior segment of the eye by an ophthalmologist, using a specifically designed single-use applicator.
The treatment targets multiple inflammatory mediators involved in the pathogenesis of uveitis, suppressing local inflammation and reducing macular oedema.
It is designed to provide sustained delivery, slowly releasing a potent corticosteroid (dexamethasone) directly into the vitreous.
“Given the risk of irreversible vision loss from uveitis and the resulting high socioeconomic impact of this condition, being able to access another treatment option like Ozurdex for our patients is fantastic,” said Associate Professor Lim.