Intravitreal ranibizumab and bevacizumab: a review of risk

Semin Ophthalmol. 2007 Jul-Sep;22(3):201-4. doi: 10.1080/08820530701543024.


Ranibizumab (Lucentis), a recombinant monoclonal antibody, blocks all active forms of vascular endothelial growth factor A and was the first treatment for age-related macular degeneration shown to improve visual acuity in a substantial percentage of patients rather than slowing visual loss. Bevacizumab (Avastin) has a similar action, is related to the ranibizumab compound with respect to its structure, but has not been approved by the FDA for intravitreal use and therefore must be utilized only in an off-label setting. While ranibizumab was approved by the FDA at a dose of 0.5 mg per intravitreal injection, the manufacturer recently issued a letter to physicians warning of the increased risk of stroke at the FDA-approved dose as compared to a lower studied dose of 0.3 mg. An interim analysis of the ongoing SAILOR study revealed a 1.2% risk of stroke in the 0.5 mg arm versus 0.3% in the 0.3 mg arm (p = 0.02). It is unclear whether the trend toward a higher risk of stroke in patients receiving 0.5 mg dose of ranibizumab would persist in the final analysis, but details such as causality, topography, and severity of stroke in the SAILOR study should also be delineated. The risks of intraocular use of bevacizumab remain largely unknown at this time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Ranibizumab
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stroke / chemically induced*
  • Vitreous Body


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • Ranibizumab