Beovu (brolucizumab-dbll) is a relatively new eye drug used to treat wet macular degeneration but is suspected of causing irreversible eye damage. Manufactured by global healthcare mogul Novartis, it has only been on the market since October 2019.
Beovu is used to treat wet macular degeneration (wet AMD)– a chronic eye disorder and one of the biggest reasons for vision loss in people 50 years of age and older. Wet AMD is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye that leak fluid or blood into the macula. This blocks proteins used to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels.
The macula is in a portion of the retina which is responsible for central vision. According to Mayo Clinic, wet AMD causes the below symptoms that can both appear suddenly and worsen rapidly:
- Visual distortions, such as straight lines seeming bent
- Reduced central vision in one or both eyes
- Decreased intensity or brightness of colors
- A well-defined blurry spot or blind spot in your field of vision
- A general haziness in your overall vision
- Abrupt onset and rapid worsening of symptoms
Beovu itself falls under what is called anti-VEGF treatment or therapy, which stands for anti-vascular endothelial growth factor. Medications of this sort treat anything from cancer to age-related macular degeneration by blocking growths that contribute to the problem.
Beovu is administered via intravitreal injection, otherwise considered a shot of medicine in the eye. It is injected into the vitreous, near the retina. Administration occurs every two to three months compared to competitor Regeneron’s Eylea (aflibercept), which has dominated the anti-VEGF market for some time.
Though Beovu has only been approved on the market to treat wet AMD for nearly a year, there have already been startling and concerning results from injections, which led to a new safety label from the Food and Drug Administration.
In early 2020, the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) issued a note to members about cases of retinal vasculitis in patients undergoing Beovu treatment. Out of the 14 cases of retinal vasculitis, 11 were considered to have occlusive retinal vasculitis, which can lead to vision loss. This is a side effect that is said to have yet to occur with other anti-VEGF drugs.
During a study based on the ASRS warning, the symptoms of the adverse event included blurry vision, floaters, pain, redness, and scotomas. Though small, the study included 26 eyes from 25 patients, of which the majority (88%) were female with a mean age of 79 years old.
After the inflammation from the adverse event in the eyes was treated, the some of the patients were given aflibercept (Eyelea) and did not have a recurrence of inflammation.
In June 2020, the FDA required a label change to warn of the uptick in adverse reactions to Beovu, such as endopthalmitis, retinal detachment, retinal vasculitis, and/or retinal vein occlusion.
“Brolucizumab is not the only drug that can be used for the treatment of eAMD. In the face of the known risk, its use is unwarranted.” –American Journal of Ophthalmology, Is This a 737 Max Moment for Brolucizumab? posted on May 25, 2020.
A spokesperson for Novartis said the company has “engaged an external safety review committee to further evaluate these post-marketing cases.” They noted the company would also be conducting its own internal assessment of the side effect.
Do you have a Beovu lawsuit?
If the injuries described above have happened to you or someone you love, you may be eligible to file a Beovu Lawsuit. You may be entitled to financial compensation by filing a lawsuit against Novartis. Our lawyers offer a Free Case Evaluation and would be honored to speak with you.