Avastin as Effective as Lucentis for Macular Degeneration

Avastin as effective as Lucentis for treating macular degeneration.  Researchers have shown that there is no difference between Avastin and Lucentis when used to treat macular degeneration.

Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab) were compared in a double-masked, randomized controlled trial.  Lucentis is the preferred macular degeneration treatment and is approved by the FDA.  Avastin is an off-label macular degeneration treatment and was originally approved to treat colo-rectal cancer.

Until this recent study, there was no data supporting which macular degeneration drug was effective.

In this study, the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System funded a study where patients were enrolled by a 2 to 1 randomization to either the Avastin or Lucentis treatment.  Patients were given intravitreal injections of either Avastin or Lucentis every month for the first three months of the trial and evaluated after the third injection to determine if subsequent macular degeneration treatments were required.

It was shown that at six months, there was no difference in those patients treated with Avastin or Lucentis.

This adds fuel to the debate over which of the two drugs should be used to treat macular degeneration.  Genentech refused to conduct any trials of Avastin as a macular degeneration treatment stating that Lucentis is the FDA approved treatment for the eye disease.

However, Avastin costs approximately $40 per treatment while Lucentis costs approximately $2000 per treatment.  With some patients requiring multiple injections to treat their macular degeneartion, the costs associated with Lucentis treatments can be enormous.


  1. Genentech’s refusal to conduct trials of Avastin to treat macular degeneration are unconscionable. It also flys in the face of the argument drug companies always use to justify their high prices. They claim that the only way they can afford to do new research is by charging high prices. But, by their own calculations, they are able to provide Avastin at a fraction of the cost of Lucentis. To then refuse to do so makes it clear that they are putting their profits way ahead of patients’ health. No one blames a company for wanting to make a profit but there’s a big difference between profits and profiteering.

  2. This is exactly what many retinal specialists know but cannot tell patients. Unfortunately, only the Govt can dictate what becomes the standard of treatment. For now, all patients are covered but for those who wish more treatments with Lucentis than the goverment will offer, Avastin becomes a cheaper and more natural choice. FYI- this is a personal view only.


  1. […] an excellent article, dated Oct 27, 2009, on this subject:  http://www.amdsupport.ca/2009/10/27/avastin-as-effective-as-lucentis-for-macular-degeneration/ This was written by Virginia. Posted on Sunday, November 1, 2009, at 9:49 am. Filed under Good To […]

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