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RCOphth calls for review of Avastin for use in AMD treatment

19 November 2014

Professor Carrie MacEwen and Professor Andrew Lotery co-author the editorial ‘What is stopping the NHS from using bevacizumab for macular degeneration and other retinal disorders?’, published online on BMJ, calls for UK regulatory bodies to review and appraise use of bevacizumab for use in AMD treatment.

Ranibizumab (Lucentis), the first drug used to treat this condition was licensed for AMD treatment and approved by NICE in 2008. Two major studies, the CATT and the IVAN studies, found that an alternative drug, bevacizumab (Avastin), which is licensed for the treatment of some cancers, but does not have a licence for use in AMD, was as effective as the licensed ranibizumab.

Several other studies and a Cochrane review have supported the effectiveness and safety of the two similar drugs. The IVAN study also identified that using bevacizumab could save NHS England £102million a year, money which could be used to relieve the capacity issues in hospital eye clinics which can result in avoidable sight loss for patients.

BMJ editorial link