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AMD Alliance, Representing AMD Patient Organizations Globally, Encourages Health Care Providers to Stop Using Avastin for Off-Label Ocular Use
Date:10/19/2011

NEW YORK, Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- It is well known that ophthalmologists around the world often prescribe Avastin (bevacizumab) off-label for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) over the approved treatment Lucentis (ranibizumabintravitreal) due to cost and the belief that the two have similar efficacy.

AMD Alliance International (AMDAI) is calling for ophthalmologists to stop this practice in light of a concerning surge in eye infections over the past month in patients being treated with repackaged Avastin.(i) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a formal warning to health care professionals about Avastin's risk for infection(ii). The US Department of Veterans Affairs has also stopped using Avastin in wet AMD patients.(iii) The Alliance urges other healthcare providers to follow suit.    

"AMDAI always advocates that evidence-based medicine and patient safety should set as the preferred treatment protocol for wet AMD, not cost," said Narinder Sharma BSc. Hons., MBA, PGDL, CEO of AMDAI. "In this case, the approved treatment based on safety and efficacy data is Lucentis. Unfortunately, we have effectively traded patient safety for money. That is just not acceptable."

Furthermore, since Avastin is not approved for ocular use, there is no pharma covigilance program for Avastin in ocular use, therefore side effects and safety issues are not monitored or reported.

AMDAI is also strongly recommending the following actions:

  • Patients and caregivers should practice increased vigilance and informed consent:
    • Patients should ask their health care providers about and fully acknowledge all possible risks associated with Avastin.
    • Patients should work with their health care providers to gain access to approved treatments whenever possible.
  • Physicians should stop prescribing Avastin as the first-line tr
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SOURCE AMDAI
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