Lucentis represents the trade name for a drug called Ranibizumab. It belongs to a class of drugs called VEGF inhibitors. “VEGF” stands for “Vascular endothelial Growth Factor”. In wet macular degeneration an abnormal blood vessel grows underneath the macula leading to leakage, bleeding and finally scarring. VEGF acts like a “fertiliser” to promote grown and leakage of these vessels. Lucentis blocks the effect of this “fertiliser”.
Worldwide studies show that Lucentis treatment has excellent rates of stabilising vision. It also has about a 35% chance of improving vision significantly. The drug is injected with a fine needle into the eye.
Principles of Treatment:
Treatment aim is to dry all the fluid at the macula and to keep it dry. Best vision is achieved when this occurs.
Induction Course: This involves 3 injections given at monthly intervals.
Maintenance Treatment: Once the macula is dry we know that a Lucentis treatment is needed at various intervals to keep the macula dry. With no treatment there is a significant risk of the fluid returning leading to a further visual loss. This interval will vary according to the individual. Your doctor will gradually increase your treatment interval until the maintenance treatment interval is established. This can vary from 4 to 12 weeks.
HOW LONG DO WE TREAT FOR?
At present Lucentis is the best treatment available providing the best outcome.
Treatment may change as new drugs are developed which may reduce the frequency of treatment.
If vision is poor, your doctor may discuss with you about ceasing the treatment.