Lucentis Vs. Avastin: The Competition For Treatment Of Macular Degeneration 0
Treatment Of Macular Degeneration
When Lucentis was presented to the Food and Drug Administration(FDA), they approved it after a lengthy testing period. There were celebrations going on all over the eye care world. Not only had they found an effective treatment for AMD, but it would be hefty in the pocket book department. The day they received the good news was in 2006. Lucentis was a step into the technology age.
Another drug we will discuss is Avastin. If you have received a diagnosis of macular degeneration (AMD), you are well aware of these two drugs. The debate between doctors is which drug is more effective and which is proper to use. If you are using one of these two treatments, then we recommend you read this article to become more aware. Not only will you be aware, you will also be able to inform your friends and loved ones as well.
Does Avastin work as well as Lucentis in treating Macular Degeneration?
The cost of both drugs is very different. Lucentis is way more expensive than Avastin because it is FDA approved for the treatment of macular degeneration. Your cost is high for treatment with Lucentis versus a much lower cost per treatment for Avastin. Doctors argue that Avastin is just as effective as Lucentis but at a more affordable price. Besides the cost difference in the two drugs, there is another concern that arises. Avastin came into being for treatment of colon cancer and other cancers. It has not been FDA approved for the treatment of AMD and is considered “off-label” for this purpose.
Knowing this, there is not enough evidence either way to answer the question of which drug works best. Back in October of 2007, Genentech, the company which markets both drugs, had a plan. They were going to limit availability of Avastin for ocular uses. Some doctors say that the drug is as effective as, if not more so than, Lucentis, but others claim that it is not as effective.
Where the Lucentis and Avastin debate stands today
Some doctors expressed safety concerns when asked about Avastin as a macular degeneration treatment. As a matter-of-fact, they refused to prescribe it. Still, others will not prescribe anything else. The debate continues to this day about which drug works best, and it’s been found that either drug can work well. Most of the time, a patient will respond better to one drug or the other, but both Lucentis and Avastin have shown efficacy.
If you are having either one injected, you are in good shape according to most in the medical field. One is more expensive than the other, but the effects are the same. No matter which one your doctor prescribes, that treatment is right for you, but if you are having complications, let your doctor know, because there may be other issues. Have you gotten injections for macular degeneration? We’d love to hear about your experience!
Dr. Jenna Zigler
Are Injections For Macular Degeneration Painful? 2
There are currently no treatments for macular degeneration that completely cure the disease or even stop its progression. Research in recent years has discovered various ways to slow inevitable vision loss and, although rarely, improve vision in particular areas. Several types of treatment include laser treatment, combinations of medicines, and injection. Concerns about injections for macular degeneration being painful should be eased since they are regarded as straightforward and painless. Several injection-based treatments are detailed below.
Visudyne drug treatment is a photodynamic therapy that was the first drug therapy ever approved for the treatment of the wet form of macular degeneration. It is designated exclusively for people who have what is called a “predominantly classic” growth pattern of new blood vessels directly under the retina. An area of the arm is numbed with a painkiller after which the drug is delivered via a painless injection. Once the drug reaches the newly growing blood vessels under the retina, a low-energy laser beam is shone into the eye to activate the medication. Upon activation, Visudyne creates a chemical reaction that extinguishes unwanted blood vessels in the eye. Both the injection and the laser are considered virtually painless.
Visudyne diminishes the symptoms of wet macular degeneration and slows down the development of legal blindness in many patients. This laser-activated drug can also be administered along with other treatments, including Lucentis or Avastin.
Lucentis is actually an altered form of the colorectal cancer treatment drug Avastin. Lucentis has more recently been FDA approved as a way to treat advanced stages of the wet form of macular degeneration. In advanced stages of macular degeneration, there is an overgrowth of abnormal blood vessels triggered by a compound called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF for short. The way Lucentis functions is by blocking VEGF proteins and thus preventing them from growing unnecessary blood vessels in the retina.
Most of the research surrounding Lucentis shows that it has a mostly positive effect. It was beneficial in improving, or at least stabilizing, the vision of nearly all of the people who took it. By limiting VEGF, many Lucentis users experienced improvements in vision, whereas the majority of other treatments simply stop macular degeneration from getting worse.
The way Lucentis is given is through an injection directly into the eye at monthly intervals (or as directed by your retinal specialist). Although the actual injection is considered to be painless, there have been scenarios were adverse reactions took place, such as eye inflammation, elevated eye pressure, and cataracts due to trauma. Continuing studies are required in order to fully explain the implications and side effects of taking Lucentis as an eye injection, but it is considered very safe and effective.
Macugen and Eylea
Macugen and Eylea, like Lucentis, are other forms of eye injection treatment. They both act similarly in that they attempt to stop VEGF from creating more hazardous blood vessels in the retina. Whereas Macugen is given every six weeks, Eylea is only needed once every other month (at the discretion of your doctor). Have you experienced any of the above procedures? Did they work for you?
Dr. Travis Zigler
- Dr. Travis Zigler
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Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients 0
Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients
The wet type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which occurs when the disease has progressed from the dry type, is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The drug Avastin is used to treat the wet type of macular degeneration. According to amd.org, “Avastin was developed by Genentech to treat colon cancer. It uses the same antiangiogenic approach to stop the growth of blood vessels to the cancer tumor.”
What is Avastin?
Avastin is the brand name for “bevacizumab,” a drug injected into the eye in order to slow vision loss in people who have wet AMD. Avastin is part of a class of drugs that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which are the cause of wet AMD. Avastin is also used to treat macular edema, swelling of the macula, which is often associated with diabetic retinopathy. Since Avastin was approved as a cancer treatment, this use of the drug is considered “off-label” use but this is permissible if a drug is demonstrated to be effective for treating other diseases.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, when asked about the risks of injecting Avastin into the eyes to treat AMD, Dr. Richard Bensinger responded, “Avastin has been a terrific improvement in the treatment of wet macular edema and bleeding as well as new disease states of the eye, which seem to be introduced each day.” The list of potential side effects is long and concerning, as with any cancer treatment, but the amount used to treat the eye is very small, also reducing the risks of side effects.
What are the side effects of Avastin?
Avastin can cause infection in the eye as well as bleeding and inflammation, but these are uncommon. It can also cause the pressure in the eye to rise as well as increase the risk of cataracts but again, these occurrences are rare.
In addition to Avastin, there is another drug frequently prescribed called Lucentis (ranibizumab). It received FDA approval in late June 2006 and the new macular degeneration drug was celebrated as a major breakthrough. Many Americans with the more severe or wet forms of AMD endure gradual loss of central vision. In clinical trials Lucentis has been shown to stop and, in many cases, reverse at least some vision loss. These findings clearly indicate Lucentis is the most effective FDA-approved treatment currently available for AMD.
But some eye doctors suggest that Avastin remains just as effective and is a more realistic option for lower-income people with advanced AMD. The issue remains that Avastin is approved by the FDA only for treatment of colon and other cancers, but not for AMD. Many eye doctors have been using Avastin off-label to treat advanced AMD. Like any treatment plan, one should investigate not only the available options but the risks and side effects of each option in order to make the most informed decisions. Do you suffer from AMD? Have you undergone injections to treat it?
Dr. Jenna Zigler
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