Anti-VEGF Medicines for Vision Problems
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These medicines are injected into the eye by your doctor. Before
the injection, your doctor will clean the area to prevent infection and numb the eye with eye drops to reduce pain.
How It Works
age-related macular degeneration (AMD) develops, weak
abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and lead to vision loss. The
growth of these vessels is triggered by a protein called vascular endothelial
growth factor (VEGF). Anti-VEGF medicines block the effects of VEGF. Blocking
this protein slows the growth of the abnormal blood vessels. This slows the
vision loss linked to wet AMD.
Why It Is Used
Anti-VEGF medicines are used to slow the vision loss caused by wet
AMD. These medicines slow the growth of abnormal blood vessels that leads to
wet AMD. These medicines are also being studied to treat diabetic retinopathy.
How Well It Works
Anti-VEGF medicines can slow the vision loss that is linked to wet
AMD.1 They may also improve vision for people with wet
AMD.2 Because these medicines are relatively new,
long-term effects are not yet known.
The common side effects of bevacizumab, pegaptanib, or ranibizumab injections
- Changes in vision, or trouble seeing.
- Inflammation of
different parts of the eye.
- Eye pain or discomfort.
- Increased pressure
inside the eye.
- Increased sensitivity to
- Painful urination.
Many side effects may be caused by the actual injection procedure
rather than the drug itself. For example, the injections have a risk of
Long-term effects of these medicines are not yet known.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
You will likely get the injections on a regular basis, such as once
Other types of anti-VEGF drugs are currently being studied,
including some that may be injected into a vein (intravenously) rather than
into the eye.
Anti-VEGF medicines may help stop vision loss in people who cannot
benefit from other treatments such as laser photocoagulation or photodynamic
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Arnold J, Heriot W (2007). AMD, search date March 2006. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
Rosenfeld PJ, et al. (2006). Ranibizumab for
neovascular age-related macular degeneration. New England Journal of Medicine, 355(14): 1419-1431.