Are Lucentis and Avastin Equal?

By: Antonio Chirumbolo SUNY 2013

August 15th 2011 – Both Lucentis and Avastin are anti-VEGF drugs that have been useful in the treatment of wet AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration). Lucentis has notoriously cost more than Avastin, but does its efficacy warrant its higher price tag compared to the similar Avastin?

The one-year results of the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trials (CATT) have been released, and it appears that the difference between Lucentis and Avastin is minimal. CATT is a two year study, comparing the patient safety and efficacy of Lucentis and Avastin for the treatment of wet AMD. To assess efficacy, changes in visual acuity was monitored, and presently, visual acuity improvement was nearly identical for the two drugs when both were given monthly. In regards to safety, once again there were no major differences between the two drugs, except that 24% of patients receiving Avastin had to be hospitalized for incidence of serious adverse effects versus the 19% who were receiving Lucentis.

After one year of the CATT study, it appears that both drugs offer the same safety and efficacy. The CATT study will continue on for another year, and once again, the results will be closely monitored. While Avastin has still not been FDA approved to teat wet AMD, perhaps the results of the CATT study will provide a strong case for this cheaper alternative to gain FDA approval.

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