Ranibizumab is a prescription used for the treatment of certain serious eye conditions such as:
- Macular edema
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
Macular edema occurs when fluid builds up in the retina. This causes swelling and can distort vision. The macula helps us see fine detail and color. With macula edema, vision can resemble the screen of an older model TV set with washed-out colors and a blurry picture. Without treatment, it can even lead to permanent vision loss.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe and irreversible vision loss in people over age 60. It happens when the small central portion of the retina called macula gets worse. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Although this condition is rarely a blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability.
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. At first, this type of condition may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type1 or type2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and less controlled your blood sugar are, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication.
Ranibizumab is a type of medicine called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This slows the growth of abnormal new blood vessels in the eye. This also lessens leakage from these blood vessels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. Ranibizumab comes as a sterile and colorless pale yellow solution in a single-use vial. This product is supplied as a preservative-free sterile solution with the strengths of 6 mg/ml and 10 mg/ml.
How does Ranibizumab work?
In eye conditions, blood vessels from the back of the eye grow abnormally into the macula. These blood vessels may leak or bleed into this area that causes swelling and a rapid reduction in central vision. A substance called vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) is responsible for making the blood vessels grow and leak.
Ranibizumab is a monoclonal antibody that has been designed to specifically recognize and bind to VEGF-A. By binding to VEGF-A, this drug 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. In clinical trials, some people started seeing better as early as day 7. For others, it took up to a few months for their vision to improve.
How to use Ranibizumab?
The dosage will depend on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. Your doctor may start at a low dose and gradually increase it. You must take this medication exactly as it is prescribed. Do not take more or less than it is given by your doctor.
Ranibizumab is given by injection into the affected eyes. The affected eye is numbed before each injection. Your eye will be monitored before and after the injection. This should be used as directed by your doctor.
Before using this product, check it visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol before injecting each dose. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely. To get the most benefit from it, use the medication regularly. Remember to use the prescription at the same time each day. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and follow your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. Consult your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.
What are the side effects of Ranibizumab?
Common side effects:
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Discomfort and increased tears in the affected eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Sore throat
- Sinus pain
- Joint pain
Tell your doctor right away if you these serious side effects such as:
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain or redness
- Seeing halos around lights
- Swelling around your eyes
- Discharge or bleeding from the eye
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body
- Seeing flashes of light in your vision
- Sudden severe headache
- Problems with speech or balance
Call for a medical emergency if you have signs of an allergic reaction such as:
- Hives or itching
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat
- Difficulty or trouble breathing
Warnings and Precautions
- Before taking Ranibizumab, tell your doctor if you have any medical history especially of stroke. Tell as well if you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug. This may have an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction.
- This drug may make you dizzy. Do not operate machinery or do any activity that needs your full alertness.
- Occasionally after having this medication, some people may develop an infection inside the eye, pain or redness in the eye. For this reason, you should tell your doctor right away if you develop any of the following symptoms after having the injection.
- You should use an effective method of contraception to avoid getting pregnant during treatment with this drug. Women should consult their doctor if they get pregnant while having this treatment.
- You should not share this with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
- This should not be used in people with active or suspected infection in or around the eye and those with severe inflammation in the eye.
- This product is not recommended for use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age.
- Use this with caution in people needing treatment for both eyes, those who have diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, and active infections inside the body.