8 May 2012
An unlicensed drug which could treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for a cheaper price has been found to be just as effective as the most popular treatment.
Results of a major study involving hundreds of eye patients could pave the way for Avastin replacing Lucentis when it comes to treating this common cause of blindness.
According to the study, which has been titled IVAN, there is no functional difference in the effects of each drug, while their impact on reducing vision loss was also almost undistinguishable.
However, the research goes on to suggest that by switching from Lucentis to Avastin, the NHS could save £84.5 million a year, on the basis that 17,295 eyes are treated annually.
Andrew Lotery, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southampton and consultant ophthalmologist at Southampton General Hospital, stated: "Avastin is a much cheaper drug and as such if the NHS switched to Avastin cost savings of many millions of pounds would result."
Wet AMD affects around ten per cent of patients with AMD, with some of the early symptoms being that straight lines appear wavy and a blind spot developing in the eye.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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