Genentech’s Lucentis® was approved in June 2006 for the treatment of exudative or “wet” age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
Like Macugen® (pegaptanib), Lucentis® is a vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor. It is similar in its half-life, ability to block VEGF binding to its receptor sites…………and cost. It is FDA approved for injection into the eye. It is highly effective in halting loss of vision from choroidal neovascularization in exudative (or wet) macular degeneration.
Most importantly, the percentage of patients that experience improvement of vision is significantly better than other agents. The safety profile is similar to other intravitreal injections, that is, the risk of endophthalmitis.
Lucentis® is recommended monthly for about 1 year to effectively improve and maintain the visual improvement. At our office, injections are preceded with 4 days of topical antibiotic drops before the day of injection. The injection is administered in the office and is painless. Post-operative antibiotic drops are continued for another 4 days.
Treatment, when combined with Avastin®, may shorten the treatment cycle. It seems that when treatment involves both drugs, the treatment cycle is shortened as recurrence rates are decreased.