Syfovre – A New Treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration

An exciting new dry macular degeneration treatment (the first of it’s kind!) was just recently approved by the FDA. It has the potential to bring relief to our patients with dry AMD in the Sarasota, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch areas of Florida.

A Breakthrough Dry Macular Degeneration Treatment Offers Renewed Hope

For the first time ever, a treatment for dry age related macular degeneration (AMD) has been approved by the FDA. The new drug, called Syfovre, and those that follow it, will likely lead to prevention of blindness in millions of Americans who would otherwise lose their sight to this progressive disease. If you or anyone you know is losing vision due to macular degeneration in Sarasota, Florida, please read on and call us to schedule a consultation.

Syfovre Injections - New Dry Macular Degeneration Treatment in Sarasota Florida

Dry Macular Degeneration & Vision Loss

Dry macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50, and its prevalence is expected to increase as the population ages. According to the National Eye Institute, approximately 11 million people in the United States have some form of macular degeneration, and about 90% of those cases are the dry form.

Progression of dry macular degeneration. With advanced dry macular degeneration, retinal atrophy leads to blind spots in the central vision that enlarge over time

With advanced dry macular degeneration, retinal atrophy leads to blind spots in the central vision that enlarge over time

The severity and speed of vision loss from dry macular degeneration can vary widely between individuals. Intermediate cases may have progressive difficulty with reading or driving. Patients who develop advanced dry macular degeneration experience one or more slowly-expanding blind spots in their central vision. In some cases, the disease leads to severe vision loss or blindness.

Normal Vision Vs. Vision with Age Related Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration can interfere with critical life activities like reading, driving, and recognizing faces.

Up until now, no treatments for dry macular degeneration existed. Medical interventions were focused solely on prevention and low vision aides. These recommendations included:

  • Lifestyle changes: Quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, and managing any underlying health conditions can help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Nutritional supplements: The second Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS2) found that a combination of vitamins C and E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper can slow down the progression of the disease in patients with intermediate or advanced dry macular degeneration.
  • Low vision aids: Lifestyle modifications, magnifying glasses, telescopes, and computer software, can help people with macular degeneration to perform daily activities more easily.

Syfovre – FDA Approved Treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration

New in 2023, the FDA has approved the first medication to treat dry age related macular degeneration (AMD), called Syfovre. Syfovre is an inhibitor of complement, a component of the body’s immune system that plays a role in the progression of macular degeneration. Scientists first noticed the role of complement in dry AMD when conducting genetic testing on patients with the condition. People with mutations in the genes for complement were found to be at higher risk for blindness from macular degeneration.

Retinal atrophy causing a blind spot near the central vision in Macular Degeneration.

Retinal atrophy causing a blind spot near the central vision.

Since that time, several complement inhibitors have been developed and are in various stages of testing. Syfovre is the first to gain FDA approval, having demonstrated that it can reduce the growth of blind spots from advanced dry macular degeneration by about 20% over two years. Many patients will retain their ability to read or drive as a result of this medication.

Syfovre is delivered by injection into the eye every 1-2 months. While the most commonly-reported side effects are mild, Syfovre and other complement inhibitors are known to increase the risk of developing leakage or bleeding in the retina, known as wet AMD. Patients receiving the injections over two years developed wet AMD in 7-12% of the studied cases, compared to 3% of those not receiving the treatment. Thankfully, there are excellent treatments available for wet age related macular degeneration.

Additional complement inhibitors are in various stages of development. Another medication, called Zimura, is expected to seek FDA approval soon. Incremental improvements in strength and efficacy are expected as we get more experience with this class of medication.

If you suffer from dry macular degeneration we encourage you to take advantage of these exciting new advances in medical technology. Call us today at (941) 351-1200 to schedule your Syfovre consultation!

Syfovre FAQ

What is geographic atrophy?

Geographic atrophy causes irreversible blind spots in the central vision. In the advanced stages of dry macular degeneration, retinal rods and cones responsible for vision undergo cell death also known as atrophy. Geographic atrophy makes it increasingly difficult to perform tasks such as reading and driving.

How do you pronounce Syfovre?

Syfovre is pronounced ‘Sigh-fove-ree’.

How does Syfovre work?

Syfovre works by inhibiting complement, which is a protein involved in our body’s immune system. While complement plays an important role in our immune system, overactive complement is involved in the development of geographic atrophy. By inhibiting complement in the eye, Syfovre slows the rate of progression of geographic atrophy by approximately 20% over two years.

Can Syfovre prevent blindness? 

Syfovre may delay blindness by slowing down the loss of retinal cells in advanced dry macular degeneration.

Does Syfovre reverse the effects of Dry Macular Degeneration? 

Syfovre does not reverse the changes that have already occurred due to dry macular degeneration. Syfovre slows the rate of progression of geographic atrophy in advanced dry macular degeneration by about 20% over two years.

How often do I need to get Syfovre injections? 

Syfovre is FDA approved for monthly and every-other-month eye injections. The injection interval will be determined by your retina specialist.

Are Syfovre injections safe?

The most common side effects of Syfovre are ocular discomfort, floaters, and bleeding on the surface of the eye. In clinical trials, wet macular degeneration occurred in 12% of monthly injection patients, 7% of every-other-month, and 3% of patient who did not receive the injections. Rarely, injection of medication in the eye causes a serious infection, known as endophthalmitis.

Should I get Syfovre injections if I have early stage dry macular degeneration? 

Syfovre is not yet indicated for early or intermediate stages of dry macular degeneration. Syfovre is currently the only FDA-approved medication to treat geographic atrophy secondary to advanced dry macular degeneration.

How soon are Syfovre injections available? 

Syfovre injections will be available beginning in March 2023.

What does Syfovre cost?

The cost of Syfovre is variable depending on your insurance coverage. Patient assistance programs are available for those patients who do not get full reimbursement from their insurance carrier.

Does my insurance cover Syfovre? 

Syfovre may be covered by your insurance depending on your specific plan. There are also co-pay assistance programs available that may help cover the cost of the injection. Retina specialist offices will complete a benefits investigation form to determine your eligibility. 

Does Medicare cover the cost of Syfovre? 

Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of Syfovre. If you have a supplemental insurance plan, it may cover the full amount or a portion of the remaining 20%. 

Despite the cold inevitability of old age conditions like dry macular degeneration, there have been great breakthroughs in medicine, and these inspire hope.

– Dr. Thomas Shane,
Dry Macular Degeneration Specialist and founder of Shane Retina

Get Treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration Today!

Syfovre and the arrival of a brand new class of medications FDA-approved for the treatment of dry age related macular degeneration heralds a new era in the prevention of blindness in America. If you or someone you know has macular degeneration, you should seek consultation with a retina specialist to discuss these exciting new treatment options.

At Shane Retina, we are available daily with the newest and best treatment options for macular degeneration in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Book your macular evaluation and counseling today!