What Is Lucentis?
Lucentis® 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.
Lucentis is the brand name for the drug, which is called ranibizumab. 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. Other conditions such as a retinal vein occlusion or histoplasmosis can also be treated with Lucentis.
Avastin® (bevacizumab), is another drug like Lucentis. 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.
Research shows that both Lucentis and Avastin are equally effective in slowing vision loss.
How does Lucentis work?
Abnormal blood vessels need a body chemical called VEGF to grow. Lucentis 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 Lucentis?
Lucentis 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