Many patients with Graves’ Disease will develop Thyroid Eye Disease. They are related problems from an underlying autoimmune process in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, usually causing high thyroid hormone levels, and also attacks the eyes, causing a range of eye problems.
In Thyroid Eye Disease, a person’s own immune system causes injury to the muscle and fat tissue behind a person’s eyes. This leads to symptoms such as bulging eyes, staring eyes, double vision, pain, irritation, sensitivity to light, redness, and swelling. See the complete summary of Thyroid Eye Disease on our website.
For decades, treatment of this autoimmune inflammation has been difficult due to a lack of specific medications that target the real problem. Until now. At Fante Eye & Face Centre, we’re excited to offer a new treatment for Thyroid Eye Disease called Tepezza (generic name teprotumumab).
What is Tepezza?
Tepezza is the first FDA-approved Thyroid Eye Disease treatment. It became available in the USA in early 2020. Tepezza is a prescription medicine that offers multi-symptom relief. In people who have active inflammation around the eyes, Tepezza blocks the inflammation and reduces eye bulging and double vision. It also improves the signs and symptoms of thyroid eye disease, including eye pain, redness, and swelling.
How Does Tepezza Work to Treat Thyroid Eye Disease?
When a person has Thyroid Eye Disease (TED), immune cells get turned on and begin . attacking the muscle and fat tissue behind your eyes, leading to the symptoms of bulging eyes, double vision, dry and gritty sensations, watery eyes, puffy eyelids, sensitivity to light, and redness.
Tepezza blocks one of the main pathways of this immune inflammatory reaction. In the majority of the patients who received Tepezza in the published FDA trials, the eye bulging and double vision improved dramatically.
How do we Make The decision to Prescribe Tepezza at Fante Eye & Face Centre?
Thyroid Eye Disease is among the most complex diseases that affect the eyes and a careful, comprehensive examination and review of your medical history will be necessary. Multiple criteria have been scientifically developed to classify the various subtypes, stages, and particular variations that afflict different people, and we will study your case intently to determine if you are a candidate for this new medication. Since it is expensive, we will also work with your insurance company, and Horizon, the company that makes Tepezza, to help you receive it if you are an appropriate candidate.
How is Tepezza Administered?
Tepezza is given in eight intravenous doses through a needle in your arm, and patients receive one dose every 3 weeks until they have finished. The first two infusions will last about 90 minutes; the last six will last 60 minutes. Intravenous delivery of this medication is accomplished at multiple infusion centers on Colorado’s front range, often at hospitals and medical clinics. Our office helps you to make arrangements for a center near your home or work.
When Would I See Results From Tepezza? What Kind of Results Should I Expect?
Clinical studies conducted to obtain FDA approval of Tepezza showed these results:
- 5 out of 10 people began to see less eye bulging in as few as 6 weeks, with about 8 out of 10 noting improvements by 24 weeks. These improvements continued over the full course of treatment. The eye bulging was reduced by an average of about 3 mm.
- 7 out of 10 people taking Tepezza saw improvements in double vision.
- 5 out of 10 people saw their double vision completely go away.
- 2 out of 3 people taking Tepezza noted substantial reduction in eye pain (including behind the eye and when moving the eye), redness of the eye and eyelid, and swelling of the eye and eyelid. These changes started as early as 6 weeks.
How Many Tepezza Treatments Would I Need?
The FDA has approved eight doses/treatments of Tepezza. To be as effective as possible, all eight doses are recommended.
What Are The Side Effects Associated With Tepezza?
The most common side effects with Tepezza include muscle cramps or spasms, nausea, hair loss, diarrhea, fatigue, high blood sugar levels, hearing problems, changes in taste, headaches, and dry skin.
Is Tepezza Safe?
Tepezza has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. To achieve this approval, Tepezza had to be proven safe and effective in clinical trials. This is a new treatment for thyroid eye disease, so there are no long-term studies. But the side effects listed above seems to be manageable for our Fante Eye & Face Centre patients, and none have had to stop the treatment due to the side effects. They enjoy the benefits of this new treatment option for Thyroid Eye Disease.
Schedule a Consultation
If you or someone you love has Thyroid Eye Disease, we encourage you to make an appointment for evaluation at Fante Eye and Face Centre with Dr. Fante and to learn more about this new medication. It is not for everyone, but it might be the next best step for you. Call 303-839-1616 to schedule a consultation.