Intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin) vs. ranibizumab (Lucentis) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2010 May;21(3):218-26. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e3283386783.


Purpose of review: We conducted a systematic review to evaluate whether the existing evidence justifies the intravitreal use of bevacizumab in comparison to ranibizumab in age-related macular degeneration.

Recent findings: Compared with photodynamic therapy, bevacizumab shows a relative improvement in visual acuity that is of similar size as in the comparison of ranibizumab with photodynamic therapy (relative improvement from 30 to 35%). However, this finding is based on one randomized controlled trial including less than 50 patients treated with bevacizumab. Also, nothing is known about long-term (>12 months) improvements in visual acuity and optimal treatment intervals for bevacizumab.Regarding safety, the published literature indicates that ocular and systemic adverse effects are less frequent under bevacizumab than ranibizumab treatment. But the validity of this finding is strongly limited by inadequate reporting, an unsystematic evaluation of adverse effects and short follow-up times in studies evaluating bevacizumab.

Summary: Given the lack of controlled data, the widespread off-label use of bevacizumab is not justified in clinical practice. On the other hand, a major challenge in the management of patients who require repeated antivascular endothelial growth factor injections is the high cost of ranibizumab. This dilemma underlines the need for head-to-head studies comparing both vascular endothelial growth factor antibodies, or, at least, well conducted randomized controlled trials evaluating intravitreal bevacizumab.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Ranibizumab
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vitreous Body


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Bevacizumab
  • Ranibizumab