I know… I’m amazed that Avastin could be the cheaper option for anything, too, but some studies are indicating that it actually could be a cheaper option for some patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD):
Lucentis, known generically as ranibizumab, is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, commonly known as AMD. But Lucentis costs as much as $2,000 per dose, so many physicians have begun substituting the similar anti-cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab), which costs less than $150 per dose.
Some studies have indicated that Avastin is just as effective as Lucentis, and many public agencies in the United States and Canada have begun authorizing its use in an effort to save money, although such use has not been approved by the FDA or its Canadian equivalent. But a new study by Canadian researchers finds that Avastin produces a much higher risk of damage to the eye.
Now, before you run out to talk to your doctor about a prescription for Avastin, remember that even though some doctors have been prescribing Avastin for AMD, it is an off-label use of Avastin. That means that Avastin still has not been approved by the FDA to treat AMD, and now there are studies that suggest it could be dangerous. Please talk to your doctor about what treatment would be best for you!
Have you used off-label prescription drugs? Tell us about it in our prescription drug forum!