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Avastin Carries Higher Risk for Blindness for Macular Degeneration Treatments

Posted Aug 20 2012 9:00am


Lucentis and Avastin are both used to treat the wet version of age-related macular degeneration. A new study from Queen's University finds that Avastin, traditionally a cancer drug, carries a much higher risk for the development of serious intraocular inflammation, which can lead to blindness.

A review of 1,600 cases of patients who had been given either Lucentis or Avastin found that participants who were given Avastin were 12 times more likely to develop intraocular inflammation.

Researcher Sanjay Sharma, M.D. said: "This is of concern for patients receiving Avastin in the eye," Sharma said. "It is particularly important because many of our seniors need numerous injections — so the risk is cumulative."
Both drugs are injected directly into the user's eye and are made by Genentech. Since both drugs have been found to be equally effective in studies, insurance companies and government health plans prefer the off-label use of Avastin, which costs one-tenth of the price of Lucentis.
Source: McKnight's Long Term Care News
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