Vabysmo (Faricimab-svoa) – Intraocular

What Is Vabysmo?

Vabysmo (faricimab-svoa) is a prescription medication used to treat various ophthalmic (eye) conditions, such as macular degeneration and macular edema, in adults 18 and older.

Vabysmo is classified as a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) inhibitor.

Specifically, Vabysmo stops the formation of specific proteins that may cause damage to the blood vessels in your eyes, allowing them to break and leak blood and fluid into areas of the eye, ultimately causing vision damage.

This drug is only available as a brand-name product, as no generic, therapeutic equivalent currently exists.

Vabysmo is also considered a specialty drug, so you and your healthcare provider may have to go through specific processes to obtain the drug from a specialty pharmacy, such as getting prior authorization to ensure your insurance will help pay for it.

Vabysmo is given by intravitreal injection, meaning it is injected into the vitreous cavity, the space in the back of the eye.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Faricimab-svoa

Brand Name: Vabysmo

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: VEGF/Ang-2 inhibitor

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Intravitreal

Active Ingredient: Faricimab-svoa

Dosage Form: Intravitreal injection

What Is Vabysmo Used For?

Vabysmo is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions:

How to Use Vabysmo

Vabysmo is a medication that is injected directly into the eye. It’s done by intravitreal injection, meaning that the medication goes into the jelly-like part of your eye called the vitreous.

A qualified healthcare provider always administers Vabysmo. You will never inject Vabysmo yourself.

The injection will be conducted at a healthcare provider’s office or clinic in a sterile environment. Whoever is administering Vabysmo to you will use a device that holds your eyelid open for the duration of the injection.

The needle used to inject is 30-gauge, one of the thinnest needles available. You will receive anesthesia and an antibacterial to prevent infection during the injection process.

After your first injection, you will likely stay at your healthcare provider’s office or clinic for about an hour to ensure you don’t experience side effects, such as high intraocular pressure (high pressure inside your eye).

Storage

Your healthcare provider will most likely store Vabysmo in their office or clinic, and you will only be expected to show up to receive the medication.

If you receive the medication and are instructed to bring it to your clinic for your appointment, you may need to store it at home. Keep your Vabysmo kit in the refrigerator (36 F to 46 F). Do not freeze it.

Always keep it in the original carton to protect the medication from light. There is no need to open the carton or the sealed blister tray until your healthcare provider is ready to give you the injection.

How Long Does Vabysmo Take to Work?

Vabysmo stops the leakage of abnormal blood vessels, which causes swelling in the macula, leading to vision problems.

For this reason, you will probably not see an immediate improvement in your vision. The fluid previously present and damaging the macula will remain there until it can get absorbed and clear away, at which time vision improvement is most likely.

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if Vabysmo causes eye pain that worsens over time or won’t go away or other severe symptoms occur.

What Are the Side Effects of Vabysmo?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

These are the most common side effects of Vabysmo. If you experience any of these effects and feel that they are particularly severe or are not resolving quickly, notify your healthcare provider immediately:

  • Increased intraocular pressure (pressure inside your eye): This is usually temporary and seen within an hour after injection, but it’s possible that it could last beyond that time frame. Your eye pressure should be regularly tested and monitored by your healthcare provider.
  • Conjunctival hemorrhage: Occurs when a tiny blood vessel breaks just beneath the clear surface of your eye, causing a small red spot on the white of your eye. This may look scary or alarming, but it is usually harmless and requires no treatment.
  • Vitreous floaters: Flashes of light in your field of vision
  • Eye pain

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you experience any serious side effects. Secondly, call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency.

Serious side effects of Vabysmo occur less frequently than the common ones listed above. These include:

  • Retinal detachment: The separation of your retina from its normal position in the back of your eye. Symptoms include eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, or seeing flashing lights in your vision; these most often occur suddenly. Retinal detachment is an eye emergency that must be treated immediately to avoid permanent vision loss or blindness.
  • Endophthalmitis: Inflammation of the fluids within your eye, usually due to infection. Endophthalmitis is considered a medical emergency and needs to be treated quickly. Symptoms include eye pain that continues to worsen after your injection, eye redness, white or yellow pus or discharge from the eyes, and decreased vision.
  • Arterial thromboembolic events (ATEs): While rare, these may include nonfatal stroke, nonfatal myocardial infarction (heart attack), or vascular death (death from a type of cardiovascular disease).

Report Side Effects

Vabysmo may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Vabysmo Should I Take?

An ophthalmologist will administer Vabysmo in an office or clinic setting. Your healthcare provider will determine your dosage based on what is being treated.

For wet AMD, the recommended dose is 6 milligrams every four weeks for the first four doses. Your healthcare provider will determine how often you should receive Vabysmo injections after the first four months based on tests and evaluations of your eyes. The frequency will usually be between every four to twelve weeks.

For DME, the recommended dose is 6 milligrams every four weeks for the first four to six doses. After that, tests and evaluations done by your healthcare provider will determine how often you'll need subsequent injections–usually in increments of four to eight weeks.

Modifications

Potential users should be aware of the following before starting treatment with Vabysmo:

In pregnancy and nursing: It is not well known or well studied whether Vabysmo poses a risk in human pregnancy or if it is present/expelled in human breast milk. As a result, it should be used during pregnancy or when nursing only if the benefit of treatment outweighs any potential risk to the parent, fetus, or infant.

If you are a person of reproductive age (18 to 44 years old), you should use effective contraception prior to your initial dose of Vabysmo, during treatment, and for at least three months after your last Vabysmo dose.

In children: Vabysmo has not been proven to be safe or effective in children. Therefore, Vabysmo is not approved for people under the age of 18.

In older adults: In clinical studies of Vabysmo, where approximately 60% of people were older than 65, no significant differences in efficacy or safety were observed in people over 65 compared to those younger than 65.

Missed Dose

The dosing frequency for Vabysmo ranges from every four weeks to every twelve weeks. Make sure you understand how often you’re supposed to receive an injection.

Each time you receive an injection, your healthcare provider will likely schedule your next appointment before you leave the office. Set reminders on your phone or put your injection dates in your calendar, so you don’t forget appointments.

If you miss a dose, contact your healthcare provider’s office to schedule another appointment so you can stay on top of your injection schedule.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Vabysmo?

Since Vabysmo is an injection you receive once every four to twelve weeks, an overdose on this medication is very unlikely.

If you are instructed to store Vabysmo at home to take into your healthcare provider’s office, and someone in your household, such as a child or pet, accidentally gets ahold of the medicine, contact the Poison Control Center immediately.

What Happens If I Overdose on Vabysmo?

If you keep Vabysmo at home, and someone in your household, such as a child or a pet, mistakenly consumes the medicine, contact the Poison Control Center immediately.

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Vabysmo, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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Your eye doctor will want to check your progress at regular visits, especially during the first few days after you receive this medicine, to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Receiving this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant during treatment and for at least 3 months after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while receiving this medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Serious eye or vision problems (eg, eye infection or retinal detachment) may occur with this medicine. Check with your eye doctor right away if your have blurred or other change in vision, eye pain, eye redness, headache, seeing flashes or sparks of light, seeing floating spots before the eyes, or a veil or curtain appearing across part of vision, or tearing of the eyes several days after you receive this medicine. Also, tell your eye doctor if you feel increased pressure in your eye.

This medicine may increase your risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. Check with your doctor right away if you are having pain in your chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves, difficulty or trouble breathing, a severe, sudden headache, slurred speech, sudden loss of coordination, sudden, severe weakness or numbness in your arm or leg, or vision changes.

This medicine may cause temporary blurred vision. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you can see clearly.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Vabysmo?

You shouldn’t use Vabysmo if you have:

  • An ocular or periocular infection, such as conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye)
  • Active inflammation inside your eye, such as uveitis
  • A known hypersensitivity to faricimab-svoa or any ingredients in Vabysmo. Symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions may include rash, urticaria (hives), or severe intraocular inflammation.

What Other Medications May Interact With Vabysmo?

Since Vabysmo is injected into your eye, you receive a minimal dose of medication. Therefore, very little will be absorbed into your system to interact with other drugs you've taken by mouth or otherwise.

If you regularly use eye drops or any other intraocular medication, ask your healthcare provider about how to space these out around your Vabysmo injections.

What Medications Are Similar?

Other intraocular medications used to treat diseases of the eye, such as retinopathy and macular degeneration, include the following intraocular drugs:

  • Eylea (aflibercept), an intraocular VEGF inhibitor used to treat the same conditions as Vabysmo, plus macular edema and diabetic retinopathy
  • Beovu (brolucizumab-dbll), an intraocular VEGF inhibitor used to treat macular degeneration
  • Lucentis (ranibizumab), an intraocular solution used to treat macular degeneration, retinopathy, macular edema, and myopic choroidal neovascularization (CNV)
  • Susvimo (ranibizumab), an ocular implant that stays in your eye and delivers the medication into your vitreous continuously for six months

This is a list of drugs also used for certain eye diseases. It is not a list of medicines recommended to take with Vabysmo. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Vabysmo used for?

    Vabysmo treats certain eye diseases, such as wet AMD and DME. Vabysmo is given by intravitreal injection, meaning it is injected directly into the part of your eye called the vitreous.

  • How does Vabysmo work?

    Vabysmo is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) inhibitor. It stops the formation of specific proteins that can cause damage to the blood vessels in your eyes.

    This damage can lead to the blood vessels breaking and leaking blood and fluid into areas of the eye, ultimately leading to damaged vision.

  • What are the side effects of Vabysmo?

    Common side effects of Vabysmo include conjunctival hemorrhage, increased pressure inside your eye, and eye pain. In comparison, notable severe side effects include endophthalmitis and retinal detachment.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Vabysmo?

AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in older adults.

Other conditions affecting vision, such as DME, are of great concern for individuals with diabetes that is not well-controlled. Losing your sight can cause frustration and a feeling of losing control.

The eye is an intricate organ, and eye diseases are complicated. There is currently no cure for macular degeneration. However, there are treatments, such as Vabysmo, that can help slow damage to your vision or sometimes even improve it.

The thought of receiving an injection in your eye may seem intimidating, but the procedure is done in a controlled environment with an extremely thin needle, and the area is numbed so that you do not feel the injection.

If you are experiencing vision loss, you may need to adjust your daily life. Your eye health provider or a therapist can suggest small changes in your home that can make getting around easier and allow you to remain independent for as long as possible.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

13 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Epocrates. Vabysmo.

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  5. DailyMed. Label: vabysmo- faricimab injection, solution.

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  7. Food and Drug Administration. Beovu (brolucizumab-dbll) prescribing information.

  8. Food and Drug Administration. Lucentis (ranibizumab) prescribing information.

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  10. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

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  13. Braille Institute. Strategies for coping with vision loss.

By Sara Hoffman, PharmD
Sara is a clinical pharmacist that believes everyone should understand their medications, and aims to achieve this through her writing.