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Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2011 May;22(3):152-8. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e32834595d0.

Ranibizumab versus bevacizumab for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Queen's University, Canada.



This paper reviews the recent literature regarding the effectiveness, efficacy and safety of intravitreal bevacizumab as compared with ranibizumab for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD).


Numerous randomized clinical trials have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of ranibizumab for the treatment of nAMD. Bevacizumab, developed, labeled and approved for the management of colorectal cancer, has been used off-label for the management of nAMD. However, given its lower cost and effectiveness, it is commonly used for many cases of nAMD. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated similar effectiveness between the two compounds in terms of visual acuity and central macular thickness. However, emerging data have suggested that these two compounds may have different ocular and systemic adverse event profiles; bevacizumab has been linked to both a higher risk of severe intraocular inflammation and a higher risk of incident arterial thromboembolic events. This incremental risk for both ocular and systemic adverse events may have an impact on the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio derived from health economic models that directly compare one anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) compound to the other.


Numerous clinical trials, including the Comparison of AMD Treatment Trial, are underway examining the comparative efficacy of ranibizumab versus bevacizumab for the treatment of nAMD. While these studies may demonstrate clinical noninferiority of one anti-VEGF compound over another, they may not be adequately powered to detect important differences in ocular and systemic safety. Large-scale, appropriately powered safety studies need to be conducted to evaluate differences in safety.

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