Lucentis Treatment and Side Effects
December 22 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Lucentis ( ranibizumab injection, Genentech ) is used for the treatment of neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration. Lucentis was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2007. Lucentis, given by monthly injection into the eye, has an annual cost of $10,000 to $14,000. Like Genentech's cancer drug Avastin, it is designed to work by cutting off nutrients needed for growth of blood vessels. Some doctors have been using Avastin, which has a lower price tag, to treat eye patients.

Lucentis Treatment
Lucentis treats the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, a disorder where blood vessels behind the retina leak blood and fluid, worsening vision and often causing blindness. An estimated 90 percent of the 1.4 million Americans who have lost their eyesight due to the disorder have the wet form. Lucentis, made by the South San Francisco, Calif., biotechnology company Genentech Inc., inhibits the growth of blood vessels when injected into the eye.

Drugs Aging. 2013. Ranibizumab: a review of its use in the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Notwithstanding the availability of other similarly effective anti-VEGF therapies that are approved (aflibercept) or unapproved (bevacizumab), ranibizumab continues to set the standard as regards the totality of evidence from randomized clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy and tolerability (particularly that of the monthly regimen) in the treatment of neovascular AMD.

Lucentis side effects, safety, danger
The most common Lucentis side effects are red eye, eye pain, and small specks in vision. Serious adverse reactions include eye infection and detached retina. Other serious Lucentis side effects include Increases in eye pressure, often within 1 hour of an injection. An arterial thromboembolic event is an uncommon Lucentis side effect. In 2007 another Lucentis side effect was reported, a higher risk of stroke.

Lucentis for macular edema
Eye injections of the drug Lucentis appear to be useful in the treatment of a potentially blinding eye condition called macular edema that can afflict people with diabetes. In diabetic macular edema, fluid accumulates in part of the retina responsible for central vision. Increased expression of the growth factor known as VEGF is thought to play a role in macular edema. Therefore, treatments that block VEGF, like Lucentis, could potentially be useful. Previous reports have shown Lucentis to be effective in cases of age-related macular degeneration. American Journal of Ophthalmology December 2006.