Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors warn against using Avastin for macular degeneration

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 07 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2483
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    Ophthalmologists are warning that it is too soon to use an unlicensed and cheaper drug than the one recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to treat wet age related macular degeneration (AMD) because the risks are unknown.

    Winfried Amoaku, vice president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and chairman of its scientific committee, said that while bevacizumab (Avastin) costs much less than ranibizumab (Lucentis), the effects of splitting the doses of bevacizumab, which is not packaged for intravitreal administration, may prove a false economy.

    Some primary care trusts have been telling doctors to use bevacizumab, which is licensed in the United Kingdom for treating colorectal cancer, instead of ranibizumab. Bevacizumab costs £243 (€280; $360) for a 100 …

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