Avastin and Lucentis Equally Improve Visual Acuity in AMD

Taken monthly, the drugs have similar effects on age-related macular degeneration over two years

WEDNESDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab) have similar effects on visual acuity in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study published online May 2 in Ophthalmology.

Daniel F. Martin, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues followed 1,107 patients with neovascular AMD during year two of a clinical trial. Patients enrolled in the trial were assigned to four treatment groups based on drug (ranibizumab or bevacizumab) and dosing regimen (monthly or as needed). At one year, patients from the monthly treatment groups were randomly reassigned to continue monthly treatment or to receive treatment as needed, without altering the drug assignment.

For those following the same regimen for two years, the researchers found that mean gain in visual acuity was similar for both drug groups (bevacizumab-ranibizumab difference, P = 0.21), but the mean gain was greater for monthly versus as-needed treatment (P = 0.046). The proportion of patients without fluid varied, from 13.9 to 45.5 percent in the bevacizumab-as-needed and ranibizumab-monthly groups, respectively, and was significant by regimen and drug. There was a significantly greater mean decrease in vision during year two and a lower proportion without fluid for patients who switched from monthly to as-needed treatment. For both drugs, the rates of death and arteriothrombotic events were similar. More patients taking bevacizumab had systemic serious adverse events than those taking ranibizumab (adjusted risk ratio, 1.30).

"Ranibizumab and bevacizumab had similar effects on visual acuity over a two-year period," the authors write.

Several authors and their institutions disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Genentech, which manufactures Lucentis and Avastin.

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