What is Beovu® (brolucizumab)?
There are two kinds of age-related macular degeneration (AMD): dry AMD, in which light-sensitive photoreceptors and supporting retinal pigment cells in the macula break down; and wet AMD, in which abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina that can leak or bleed, causing damage.1 This abnormal blood vessel growth can also be seen in myopic macular degeneration (MMD).2 Though AMD is not curable, there are treatments to help slow progression of the disease and preserve existing vision.
What is anti-VEGF therapy?
One of these treatments involves eye injections with medications known as anti-VEGF drugs. Anti-VEGF drugs bind or trap VEGF, which is a protein that stimulates the growth of blood vessels. When VEGF is produced in the eyes, it not only promotes the growth of new blood vessels, but these vessels tend to be abnormally weak and prone to leakage, which can cause damage to the retina and loss of vision.3 There are several anti-VEGF drugs – one of these is called Beovu® (generic name brolucizumab).
How Beovu works
Beovu is given as an intravitreal injection, which means it is an injection directly into the eye, that must be done by a doctor. Beovu specifically binds to several forms of VEGF and helps to not only slow blood vessel growth, but also helps to stop the development and growth of new abnormal blood vessels, and prevent leakage.4
What are possible side effects of Beovu?
Side effects can happen with any medication, and Beovu is no different. Not everyone will have the same side effects, and not everyone will have all the side effects mentioned. If you do experience any adverse reactions, call your doctor immediately. Many side effects are only temporary, but the doctor should be notified, just in case.
Eye injections, including Beovu, have been associated with endophthalmitis (itching and inflammation of the fluids in the eye) and retinal detachment.4 The medication has also been associated with increased intraocular pressure, stroke, nonfatal heart attack, and vascular death.4
Common side effects
In clinical trials, common side effects of Beovu included:4
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain
- Conjunctival floaters
- Corneal abrasion
- Abnormal sensations in the eye
- Increased tears
These are not all the possible side effects of Beovu. Patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect with treatment with Beovu.
Other possible risks
There are no reliable studies of Beovu use in pregnant or lactating women, and pregnant or nursing women should talk with their doctor about the possible risks. Beovu may pose a risk to a developing fetus and may be transferred in breast milk. It is recommended that an individual does not breastfeed while on Beovu and once treatment is stopped, waiting at least one month post-treatment to breastfeed.4
This drug has not been studied for pediatric populations and should not be administered to these individuals without further study.