Macular degeneration drug - Lucentis
Genentech Incorporated's new drug for age-related macular degeneration has been linked to an elevated risk of stroke, the company told doctors in January 2007.
Lucentis, which is injected into the eye, is designed to interfere with the formation of abnormal blood vessels that damage vision.
Lucentis was approved by the FDA in US in June 2006, based on data demonstrating it could reverse some vision loss rather than just delay it causing other drugs losing significant market shares. Lucentis sales had climbed from $153 million in the first third of 2006 to $216 million in the final quarter of the year.
A large-scale study of Lucentis has confirmed the tentative finding from earlier studies that it may increase the rate of stroke. Patients who have already suffered a stroke appeared to have a heightened risk of suffering another. The rate of stroke associated with 0.5mg of Lucentis, the only dose on the market, was 1.2% in the trial. This is a fourfold increase over the 0.3% rate of strokes seen at a lower 0.3mg dose used in the clinical trials.
Currently, Lucentis is not licensed in the UK but is being used by a number of medical practitioners in private practice.
If you or someone you know has suffered a stroke whilst taking Lucentis please contact a member of our Product Liability team for initial free advice. It may be that a number of people have been affected by this drug in which case our specialist Group Action team will be able to advise you.