What Is Avastin?

Avastin® is a drug used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is also used to treat diabetic eye disease and other problems of the retina. It is injected into the eye to help slow vision loss from these diseases.

Avastin is the brand name for the drug, which is called bevacizumab. It blocks the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eye. Those blood vessels can leak and affect vision, causing vision loss from wet AMD and diabetic eye disease.

Avastin was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat different types of cancer. Its use to treat eye disease is considered an “off-label” use. The FDA allows “off label” drug use if doctors are well informed about the product and studies prove the drug is helpful.

Lucentis® (ranibizumab) is another drug like Avastin. Research shows that both Avastin and Lucentis are equally effective in slowing vision loss.

How does Avastin work?

Abnormal blood vessels need a body chemical called VEGF to grow. Avastin blocks VEGF, slowing the growth of blood vessels in the eye. Drugs that block the trouble-causing VEGF are called anti-VEGF drugs.

What conditions are treated with Avastin?

Avastin is used to treat the following eye problems:

  • Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Swelling of the retina, called macular edema
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal vein occlusion