BACKGROUND: Choroidal neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is becoming more prevalent worldwide as life expectancy continues to increase. Ranibizumab for intravitreal injection is an inhibitor of human vascular endothelial growth factor A approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of ARMD in June 2006. The actions of ranibizumab result in reduced cell proliferation, reduced formation of new blood vessels, and minimization of vascular leakage. OBJECTIVE: This paper reviews the pharmacologic and pharmacokinetic properties, clinical efficacy, and safety profile of ranibizumab, and pharmacoeconomic considerations associated with its use. METHODS: MEDLINE (1966-December 2006) and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970-December 2007) were searched for original research studies (Phase I, II, III, and IIIb), abstracts, and review articles concerning ranibizumab. The search terms were choroidal neovascularization, macular degeneration, Lucentis, ranibizumab, retinal degeneration, and vascular endothelial growth factor. Preference was given to Phase IlfllI studies. Selected information from the manufacturer of ranibizumab was also included. RESULTS: The efficacy of ranibizumab has been studied in 3 large clinical trials having the same primary efficacy end point, the proportion of patients losing <15 letters from baseline at 12 months (Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study chart). A multicenter, Phase III, randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled, 24-month clinical trial evaluated ranibizumab 0.3 and 0.5 mg in 716 patients with minimally classic or occult choroidal neovascularization (CNV) associated with ARMD. The results for the primary efficacy end point were 94.5% and 94.6% in the ranibizumab 0.3- and 0.5-mg groups, respectively, compared with 62.2% in the sham-injection group (P < 0.001, both ranibizumab groups vs sham injection); at 24 months, the corresponding proportions were 92.0%, 90.0%, and 52.9% (P < 0.001, both ranibizumab groups vs sham injection). A 2-year, Phase I/II, single-masked (masked patient and visual acuity examiner, unmasked investigator), multicenter trial evaluated the tolerability and efficacy of the combination of ranibizumab 0.5 mg and verteporfin photodynamic therapy (PDT) compared with verteporfin PDT alone in 162 patients with predominantly classic CNV. For the primary efficacy end point, the results were 90.5% for ranibizumab + PDT and 67.9% for PDT alone (P < 0.001). Receipt of ranibizumab + PDT was also associated with improved visual acuity, with 23.8% of patients gaining >15 letters from baseline, compared with 5.4% of those who received PDT alone (P = 0.003). Finally, an international Phase III, double-blind, active-controlled study compared ranibizumab 0.3 and 0.5 mg with verteporfin PDT in 423 patients with predominantly classic lesions associated with CNV secondary to ARMD. For the primary efficacy end point, the results were 35.7% for ranibizumab 0.3 mg, 40.3% for ranibizumab 0.5 mg, and 5.6% for verteporfin PDT (P < 0.001). Serious adverse ocular events, which occurred in association with < 0.1% of intravitreal injections in these trials, included retinal detachment and endophthalmitis. Less serious adverse ocular reactions occurring in < 2% of patients included intraocular inflammation and increased intraocular pressure. CONCLUSION: The findings of these 3 large clinical trials suggest that ranibizumab was effective and well tolerated in patient.
PMID: 18035187 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]