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Interpreting the Avastin-Lucentis study for persons with macular degeneration
Date:5/1/2012

ffects on vision, the possibility of true differences in adverse events, and the 40-fold difference in cost between [Lucentis and Avastin]."

AMD is the leading cause of irreversible central vision loss in people older than age 60. The disease affects the central area of the retina known as the macula, and, without treatment, gradually destroys the central vision needed to conduct many activities of daily living. Although vision loss from AMD cannot be reversed at present, early detection and treatment can halt the progression of the disease.

In the wet form of AMD, Avastin and Lucentis, two therapies known as angiogenesis inhibitors, block the growth of abnormal blood vessels and fluid leakages that damage the eye. Lucentis was approved for AMD treatment by the FDA in 2006; Avastin is approved for other purposes but has been used "off-label" to treat AMD. Both are manufactured by Genentech, and Lucentis is significantly more expensive that Avastin.

"AMD patients should note that serious adverse eventsinvolving the development or worsening of medical conditionsoccurred at a 40% rate for Avastin and a 32% rate for Lucentis," adds Eakin. "However, the study authors note that CATT was not capable of determining whether there was an association between a particular adverse event and treatment. The median age of CATT patients was older than 80, and certain medical conditions are more common to elderly populations. AMD patients should discuss the risk of adverse events with their eye doctor."

"While we welcome the latest information from the CATT study, AHAF urges even more public and privately funded research on AMD," notes Eakin. "This is particularly true for the more common dry form of AMD affecting nine million Americans, for which there are no approved treatment options at present."

The drugs reviewed in the CATT study focus only on the growth of blood vessels in the wet form of the disease. Says Eakin, "We need
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Contact: Alice Kirkman
akirkman@ahaf.org
301-556-9349
AHAF-American Health Assistance Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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