How does it work?
Lucentis injection contains the active ingredient ranibizumab, which is a type of medicine called a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor. It is used in the treatment of sight problems caused by conditions where blood vessels leak into an area at the back of the eye called the macula. These conditions are called neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and macular oedema.
The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for seeing fine detail, such as reading, seeing facial features and interpreting different colours.
In wet ARMD, blood vessels from the back of the eye grow in an abnormal fashion into the macula.These blood vessels may leak or bleed into this area, causing a rapid and significant reduction in central vision. A substance called vascular endothelial growth factor A is responsible for making the blood vessels grow and leak.
Ranibizumab is a monoclonal antibody that has been designed to specifically recognise and bind to vascular endothelial growth factor A. By binding to VEGF-A, ranibizumab blocks the action of this substance, which helps to stop the growth and leakage of blood vessels in the eye. The medicine can help improve damaged vision, or prevent it from getting worse.
What is it used for?
- Neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration.
- Sight problems caused by diabetic macular oedema.
- Sight problems due to macular oedema caused by a blockage in the retinal vein.
How is it given?
Lucentis injection is administered directly into the eyeball under a local anaesthetic by a specialist eye consultant. The injection is given once a month until a maximum improvement in vision is seen for three consecutive months. After this your sight will be reviewed monthly and further injections given if needed.
- Following treatment with this medicine you may develop temporary visual disturbances that may affect your ability to drive and operate machinery. If affected you should not drive or use machines until your vision improves.
- Occasionally after having Lucentis injection, some people may develop an infection inside the eye, pain or redness in the eye (inflammation), detachment or tear of the layer in the back of the eye (retinal detachment or tear), or clouding of the lens (cataract). It is important to identify and treat infections or retinal detachment as soon as possible. For this reason you should tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms after having this injection: eye pain or increased discomfort, worsening eye redness, blurred or decreased vision, an increased number of small particles in your vision or increased sensitivity to light.
- You will need to use antibiotic eye drops four times a day for three days before and after each monthly injection of Lucentis to help prevent infection of the eye. It is important to use these regularly as directed.
- You should use an effective method of contraception to avoid getting pregnant during treatment with this medicine. Women should consult their doctor immediately if they get pregnant during treatment.
- People receiving this treatment should be reviewed every month by their eye specialist.
Use with caution in
- People needing treatment in both eyes.
- People who have previously had injections into the eye (intravitreal injections).
- People with co-existing eye conditions such as retinal detachment or a macular hole.
- People with diabetes who have an average blood sugar level or HbA1c over 12% and uncontrolled high blood pressure.
- People with active infections inside the body.
- People with a history of stroke or mini-stroke (TIA).
Not to be used in
- People with active or suspected infection in or around the eye.
- People with severe inflammation in the eye.
- This medicine is not recommended for use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been established. The medicine is unlikely to pass into the bloodstream in significant amounts following administration to the eye; however, if it does it could be potentially harmful to a developing baby. For this reason it should not be used during pregnancy, unless the expected benefits to the mother outweigh any potential risks to the foetus. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
- Women should use an effective method of contraception to avoid getting pregnant during treatment with this medicine. You should consult your doctor immediately if you think you could be pregnant during treatment.
- If you want to try for a baby you should wait for three months after your last injection of this medicine.
- It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk. For this reason, it is not recommended for nursing mothers. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
Very common (affect more than 1 in 10 people)
- Eye pain, inflammation, irritation or itching.
- Visual disturbances.
- Bleeding of the blood vessels in the lining (conjunctiva) of the eye (conjunctival haemorrhage).
- Bleeding in the retina.
- Sensation of something in the eye(s).
- Dry or watery eyes.
- Raised pressure inside the eye.
- Pain in the joints.
- Inflammation of the nose and throat.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
- Detachment, tearing or degeneration of the retina (see warning section above).
- Bleeding inside the eyeball (vitreous haemorrhage).
- Dislike of light (photophobia).
- Feeling sick.
- Allergic reactions such as rash, hives or itching.
- Urinary tract infection.
- Decrease in the number of red blood cells in the blood (anaemia).
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)
- Infection inside the eye (endophthalmitis).
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you are treated with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while being treated with this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
It is recommended that ranibizumab is not administered in combination with other vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors, such as pegaptanib or bevacizumab.
Other medicines containing the same active ingredient
There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain ranibizumab as the active ingredient.