Macular Degeneration Treatment

Anti-VEGF Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration

 

Anti-VEGF treatment is a way to slow vision loss in people who have a condition known as “wet” age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

The two anti-VEGF medicines commonly used today for treatment are Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab), both made by Genentech.  Currently, there is no evidence of superiority of one of these medicines over another, although there is a huge cost difference.  Avastin costs around $50 per dose while Lucentis is over $2,000 per dose.  It is expected that people with wet ARMD will need a minimum of three treatments, though it is not uncommon to have 10 or more depending on how well your eye is responding to treatment.

In early 2008, plans were announced for enrollment of participants in the two-year Comparison of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatments Trials (CATT), sponsored by the National Eye Institute at about 45 study sites to help determine if Avastin or Lucentis is superior, or if they have the same equivalency.  The outcome of this trial will hopefully be known in 2011, and could have a major cost impact on our current healthcare.  This affects everyone, as there is a huge difference in cost when your copay per treatment is around $40 vs. $400 or more.