Macular Degeneration & Avastin: Legal Issues
Since 2005, the drug Avastin is used against the problematic vessel growth in wet macular degeneration. To date, this drug has not been officially authorized for the treatment of macular degeneration. The manufacturer of Avastin, which is also the manufacturer of Lucentis, also plans to have Avastin not authorized for the field of ophthalmology. Due to the lack of authorization for the treatment of macular degeneration, official instructions are also missing on potential adverse effects of its use in the eye. Nevertheless, it appears the injecting of Avastin is a widely used conventional method for the treatment of wet macular degeneration.
Originally Avastin comes from the Cancer Research and for example, is often used against intestine cancer. In a tumor treatment, the drug Avastin is injected directly into a vein in your arm. Due to the propagation through the bloodstream, it often leads to side effects throughout the body. With the injection of Avastin into the by wet macular degeneration affected eye, the dose used is much lower and is therefore considered to have fewer side effects. The drug Avastin inhibits angiogenesis on the one hand and seals on the other vessels, hence the use in wet macular degeneration. It is an antibody with the drug Bevacizumab, which blocks vessel-building, also called VEGF-Hormone (VEGF: Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) and thus preventing the blood supply of tumors.
The goal, therefore, is a lower release of VEGF hormone. .
It was found out that Avastin also is able to block and seal the abnormal growth of vessels as well as leaking vessels over this mechanism in a wet macular degeneration. At best, it seems possible to transform a wet macular degeneration back into a dry macular degeneration and thereby prevent the normally serious vision loss through the abnormal vessel growth with a wet macular degeneration.
A so-called off-label therapy, so a drug that can also help with other diseases than those for which it was approved, is allowed in Germany, unless another approved method for this area is available. Since the approval of Macugen and Lucentis, therefore, a certain legal problem lies in the use of Avastin for a wet macular degeneration. Ophthalmologists who inject Avastin into the eye at a wet macular degeneration are moving therefore in a legal gray area.back to top