Ranibizumab

Ranibizumab treats macular degeneration (eye disease). After the injection, you may experience temporary vision problems. Do not drive or operate machinery until your vision has returned to normal.

Ranibizumab Overview

Reviewed: March 27, 2013
Updated: 

Ranibizumab is a prescription medication for the treatment of people with wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD, a common eye disease associated with aging) and macular edema. Ranibizumab is also used to treat diabetic retinopathy (DR) in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME).

Ranibizumab belongs to a group of drugs called vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) antagonists. It works by preventing new blood vessel growth and blood vessel leakage.

This medication comes in an injectable form to be given directly into the eye by a healthcare provider.

Common side effects of ranibizumab include eye redness and pain, and small specks in vision.

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Ranibizumab Cautionary Labels

precautions

Uses of Ranibizumab

Ranibizumab is a prescription medicine used to treat:

  • wet age-related macular degeneration
  • diabetic macular edema (swelling of the retina in patients with diabetes caused by leaking of fluid from blood vessels within the macula)
  • macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (blockage of veins that carry blood away from the retina)
  • diabetic retinopathy (DR) in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME)

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Ranibizumab Brand Names

Ranibizumab may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Ranibizumab Drug Class

Ranibizumab is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Ranibizumab

Serious side effects have occurred with ranibizumab injections. See "Drug Precautions" section.

The most common eye-related side effects are:

  • increased redness in the white of the eye
  • eye pain
  • small specks in vision
  • increased eye pressure

The most common non–eye-related side effects are:

  • nose and throat infections
  • headache
  • lung/airway infections 
  • and nausea

This is not a complete list of  ranibizumab side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Ranibizumab Interactions

Because ranibizumab is injected into the eye, only a very small amount of the drug reaches the bloodstream, making ranibizumab unlikely to interact with most medications. However, be sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, especially if you have recently received verteporfin (Visudyne).

Ranibizumab Precautions

Serious side effects have occurred with ranibizumab injections including:

  • serious infections inside the eye
  • detached retinas
  • cataracts
  • inflammation inside the eye 
  • increased eye pressure
  • uncommonly, some patients have had serious, sometimes fatal, problems related to blood clots, such as heart attacks or strokes

If your eye becomes red, sensitive to light, or painful, or if you have a change in vision, call or visit your eye doctor right away.

After receiving a ranibizumab injection you may experience temporary vision problems. Do not drive or operate machinery until your vision has returned to normal.

Ranibizumab Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of ranibizumab there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving ranibizumab.

Inform MD

Before receiving ranibizumab, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including if you:

  • have an infection in or around your eye(s)
  • have had a blood clot or stroke
  • are allergic to any medication, food, or dyes
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take including prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Ranibizumab and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if ranibizumab will harm your unborn baby.

Ranibizumab and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if ranibizumab is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Ranibizumab Usage

Ranibizumab comes as a liquid to be injected into the eye by a healthcare provider in a medical office, hospital, or clinic.

Before you receive a ranibizumab injection, your eye will be cleansed to prevent infection and numbed to reduce discomfort during the injection. You may feel pressure in your eye when the medication is injected. You should feel no pain.

After your injection, your doctor will need to examine your eyes before you leave the office.

You may receive a prescription for antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection after the procedure.

After receiving a ranibizumab injection, you may experience temporary vision problems. Do not drive or operate machinery until your vision has returned to normal.

Ranibizumab Dosage

Ranibizumab comes as a solution (liquid) to be injected into the eye by a doctor. It is usually given in a doctor's office every month. Your doctor may give you injections on a different schedule if that is best for you.

Neovascular (Wet) Age- Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): The recommended dose of ranibizumab is 0.5 mg (0.05 mL) injected into the eye once a month (approximately 28 days).
 
Although not as effective, patients may be treated with 3 monthly doses followed by less frequent dosing with regular assessment.
 
Although not as effective, patients may also be treated with one dose every 3 months after 4 monthly doses. Your doctor will assess you regularly.
 
Macular Edema Following Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO): The recommended dose of ranibizumab 0.5 mg (0.05 mL) injected into the eye once a month (approximately 28 days).
 
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) in patients with Diabetic Macular Edema: The recommended dose of ranibizumab is 0.3 mg (0.05 mL) injected into the eye once a month (approximately 28 days).

 

Ranibizumab Overdose

Ranibizumab is usually administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting making it unlikely for an overdose to occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

Keep all appointments with your healthcare provider for ranibizumab injections. This medication must be taken as prescribed to receive the most benefit.