Research shows that the macular degeneration drug ranibizumab—sold under the brand name Lucentis—might increase patients’ chances of suffering a stroke. If you’ve received Lucentis injections and you believe they caused you to suffer a stroke or some other harmful side effect, you need a sympathetic advocate who will represent only your interests—and who will make the process of helping you to recover for your injuries as painless as possible.
The Rottenstein Law Group compassionately advocates for those who have suffered from the harmful side effects of potentially dangerous drugs. If you believe a Lucentis injection harmed you, contact RLG for a free, confidential legal consultation immediately. We will evaluate your case and remain on the lookout for Lucentis recalls and Lucentis class action lawsuits. We might be the Lucentis law firm you are looking for.
What Is Lucentis and What Is Prescribed For?
Lucentis is the brand name for the drug ranibizumab. Made and sold by Genentech and marketed elsewhere by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, this prescription medication is used to treat age-related macular degeneration and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) approved Lucentis in June 2006 in the form of a monthly 10 mg/mL eye injection.
Lucentis is an artificially created monoclonal antibody fragment derived from a mouse antibody. It binds to the receptor sites capable of binding to Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGF-A), a protein that accelerates neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion.
Controversies surround Lucentis. A $1,593 Lucentis injection may be no more effective than a $42 dose of bevacizumab (Avastin), a related compound also manufactured by Genentech. As a result, Medicare paid $20 million for 480,000 Avastin injections versus $537 million for only 337,000 Lucentis injections, according to a 2008 New York Times article. The Times also reported that Genentech had begun secretly offering eye doctors rebates for prescribing Lucentis and using more than the previous month. One quoted retina specialist called Genentech’s scheme bribery.
More recently, the British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) did not approve Lucentis for treating diabetic macular edema because of the drug’s cost and effectiveness relative to laser therapy.
In July 2012, the British medical regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), discovered during a routine investigation that Genentech had failed to relay to its parent company, Roche, of 15,000 drug-related deaths and another 65,000 side effects caused by Lucentis and other drugs. According to the Daily Mail, adverse events that were reported to Genentech via a call center were not passed up to Roche’s offices in the United Kingdom for the previous 15 years, even though pharmaceutical companies have a legal duty to disclose to regulators all adverse events reported to them. It is unknown what actions the MHRA will take against Roche, but the manufacturer claims that the non-reporting was unintentional.
Lucentis Causes Strokes at High Doses
In a letter sent by Genentech to doctors, the manufacturer alerted physicians that a study (called SAILOR), concluded that those who received the 0.5 mg dose of Lucentis were four times as likely to suffer an arterial thromboembolic event (ATE) as the group that received the 0.3 mg dose (1.3% versus 0.3%). ATEs include nonfatal strokes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and vascular deaths. Genentech believed those who had already suffered strokes were at higher risk.
Meanwhile, the “Warnings and Precautions” section of the FDA-mandated Lucentis drug label lists three side effects. The first is endophthalmitis and retinal detachments. Endophthalmitis is an infection that attacks the internal coating of the eye, and it can result in vision loss or even loss of the eye. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency in which the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye peels away. It too can lead to blindness.
More common Lucentis side effects are:
- Increased intraocular pressure (This usually occurs within an hour of the injection.);
- Intraocular inflammation;
- Conjunctival hemorrhage;
- Eye pain; and
- Vitreous floaters.
RLG’s Lawyers Will Make Things Easier
The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group believe that getting satisfaction shouldn’t be just more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process of helping victims get the compensation they deserve.
If you have taken Lucentis and experienced adverse side effects, contact RLG today. We will file a Lucentis lawsuit on your behalf if necessary. RLG will also keep you up to date on any Lucentis class action lawsuits, FDA Lucentis warnings, and Lucentis FDA recall announcements.