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Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS) has new treatment for vision complications of diabetes

  • Writer Priscilla Viana Palhano Lima
  • Date 2019-11-25
  • Views 6,254

Patients diagnosed with Diabetic Macular Edema (EMD) now have Aflibercept in the Unified Health System (SUS). Medication prevents vision diabetes from developing into blindness

One of the main causes of vision loss in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes is Diabetic Macular Edema (EMD). The disease mainly affects patients with long-term disease or who do not properly control blood glucose (blood sugar). To treat EMD and prevent its evolution to permanent vision loss, the Ministry of Health approved Aflibercept's offer in the Unified Health System (SUS). The drug is an injection that is applied to the eye to block the proliferation of retinal blood vessels, which lead to the worsening of the disease.

The decision of the Ministry of Health was published through Ordinance No. 50, of November 5, 2019, in the Official Gazette (DOU). The drug will be available to the population in 180 days from the date of publication of the ordinance.

Diabetic macular edema (EMD) is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy (RD), and affects the macula region, part of the eye responsible for bringing the image to the brain. There is no cure for DR, and therapeutic efforts are concentrated on risk factors for the onset and worsening of the disease and surgical treatment of lesions with high risk of progression to visual loss.

Aflibercept comes to integrate the treatment already offered in SUS for Diabetic Macular Edema (EMD). Anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, which can help reduce ocular macula swelling, corticosteroids, as well as medicines to control diabetes, are currently offered in SUS. There is also laser photocoagulation, which is standard treatment for diabetic retinopathy.

Careful control of diabetes with a proper diet, use of hypoglycemic drugs, insulin or a combination of these treatments, which are prescribed by the endocrinologist, is the main way to prevent diabetic retinopathy. The number of Brazilians with a medical diagnosis of diabetes grew by 40% between 2006 and 2018, from 5.5% to 7.7% of the population of the Brazilian capitals. The increase is greatest among men (54.3%), aged 55 to 64 years (24.6%), according to the Survey on Risk Factors and Protection for Chronic Diseases by Telephone Survey (Vigitel). ) 2018.