The FDA is warning health care professionals about a risk for serious eye infections linked to the popular cancer drug Avastin.
More than a dozen people in Florida and Tennessee have been stricken with severe eye infections after receiving injections of the drug Avastin in their eye. Some have lost their vision completely.
Avastin is used as an off-label treatment for the wet form of macular degeneration. It is not approved by the FDA for this use.
The cases in Florida have been traced to a specific pharmacy, where the drug was repackaged from a vial to single-dose syringes. In Tennessee the shots were contaminated by bacteria. FDA officials say repackaging sterile drugs can increase the risk for contamination.
A large clinical trial recently found Avastin worked as well as a drug approved to treat macular degeneration, called Lucentis.
Avastin costs fifty dollars per injection, Lucentis costs two thousand.
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