If you have certain eye conditions, your doctor may prescribe Lucentis.
It’s a prescription drug that’s used in adults with:
- Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). With wet AMD, blood vessels form and leak fluid and blood under your macula. (Your macula is the center part of your retina.)
- Macular edema after retinal vein occlusion. With macular edema, you have edema (fluid buildup) in your macula. Lucentis is used for macular edema that follows the formation of a blood clot in the veins of your eye. This type of blood clot causes a condition called retinal vein occlusion.
- Diabetic macular edema. With diabetic macular edema, you have fluid buildup in your macula. This condition is a complication of diabetes.
- Diabetic retinopathy. With diabetic retinopathy, your retina is affected. (Your retina is the part of the eye that allows you to see.) This condition is also a complication of diabetes.
- Myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV). With mCNV, abnormal blood vessels form in the back of the eye in people with nearsightedness. (With nearsightedness, you have trouble seeing things that are far away.)
To learn more about these conditions and how Lucentis is used for them, see the “What is Lucentis used for?” section below.
Lucentis is a solution that contains the active drug ranibizumab.
You’ll receive Lucentis from your doctor as an injection into your eye. They’ll inject the drug into your vitreous humor (jelly-like center of your eye). This type of injection is called an intravitreal injection.
Lucentis is a biologic medication. Biologics are made from parts of living organisms. Lucentis isn’t available in a biosimilar form. (Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for non-biologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.) Instead, it’s only available as the brand-name drug.
Read on to learn more about Lucentis’s side effects, cost, and more.
Like most drugs, Lucentis may cause mild or serious side effects.
How long Lucentis’s side effects last depends on the side effect. For example, increased pressure in the eye may last for about 30 minutes, whereas eye pain may last for a few days.
The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Lucentis may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.
Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:
- your age
- other health conditions you have
- other medications you may be taking
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Lucentis. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Lucentis can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or read Lucentis’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Lucentis that have been reported include:
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information on this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Lucentis can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Lucentis, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Lucentis that have been reported include:
- increased pressure in your eye
- endophthalmitis (inflammation in the inner part of your eye)
- detachment of the retina from the back of your eye
- blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke*
- allergic reaction*
* For more information on this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Side effect focus
Learn more about some of the side effects Lucentis may cause.
Blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke
A stroke can occur when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in your brain. This limits blood flow to your brain, and the brain tissue affected can die. After a stroke, it’s possible to have permanent brain damage and long-term disabilities. And some people who have a stroke may die.
With a heart attack, some of your heart muscle loses its blood supply. This usually happens due to a blockage in a blood vessel in your heart. Some people who have a heart attack may also die.
What might help
If you’ve had a stroke or you have risk factors for stroke, your doctor will weigh the benefits and risks of having you take Lucentis. They’ll do the same if you’ve had a heart attack in the past or you have a high risk for one.
If you experience any symptoms of stroke or heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, have someone call for you.
Possible symptoms of stroke can include:
- numbness or weakness in your face, arms, or legs
- trouble speaking or understanding speech
- trouble seeing in one or both of your eyes
- trouble walking
- loss of balance
- lack of coordination
- severe headache
Symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- pressure, pain, a crushing feeling, or aching in your chest
- feeling clammy and sweaty
- pain that spreads from your chest to your arm, neck, or back
- shortness of breath
- a feeling of heartburn or indigestion
Eye pain is a common side effect of Lucentis.
When your doctor is injecting Lucentis into your eye, you might feel pressure in your eye. And after the injection, your eye may be sore. But the pain should fade away with time.
What might help
Your doctor will try to reduce your eye pain with Lucentis injections. To help manage your pain with the injections, your doctor will give you pain medication or a numbing medication. This medication may be given topically as an eye drop or a gel. Or, it may be given as an injection into your eye.
But severe eye pain may indicate a more serious side effect of Lucentis called endophthalmitis. (With endophthalmitis, you have inflammation in the inner part of your eye.) Severe pain and other symptoms can occur in the days after Lucentis injections.
In addition to severe pain, other symptoms of endophthalmitis may include:
If you have eye pain that lasts for a while or you notice other symptoms after a Lucentis injection, tell your doctor right away. They can manage your eye condition as needed.
Floaters in your vision
Floaters are a possible side effect of Lucentis. With floaters, you have small lines or dots that appear in your vision. It may seem like they’re right in front of your eye, but they’re actually floating inside your eye.
These lines or dots are made of clumps of gel or cells. And they’re located in the vitreous humor (jelly-like center) of your eye.
What might help
Floaters aren’t harmful or dangerous, but they can be bothersome. They may fade or even disappear over time.
If you have severe floaters, they can be removed by surgery. But keep in mind that surgery has certain risks and isn’t always necessary.
If you have floaters with Lucentis, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to manage this side effect.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to Lucentis.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of your skin color)
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.
If you have an allergy to ranibizumab (the active drug in Lucentis) or any of its inactive ingredients, you may develop severe inflammation in your eye if you use Lucentis.
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Lucentis. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Lucentis in your area, visit WellRx.com.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Lucentis manufacturer’s website to see if it offers any support options. Here’s list of financial support pages from the website for people with:
- wet age-related macular degeneration
- diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema
- myopic choroidal neovascularization
- macular edema following retinal vein occlusion
To learn more about these conditions, see the “What is Lucentis used for?” section below.
Like Lucentis, Avastin is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor. (VEGF inhibitors are a certain group of drugs.)
But unlike Lucentis, which contains the active drug ranibizumab, Avastin contains the active drug bevacizumab. Avastin is used to treat certain types of cancer, while Lucentis is used to treat certain eye conditions.
For a side-by-side comparison of these two drugs, check out this drug article. And be sure to talk with your doctor about which drug is right for your condition.
Eylea contains the active drug aflibercept, which belongs to a group of drugs called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors. Lucentis contains the active drug ranibizumab, and it also belongs to this group of drugs.
Like Lucentis, Eylea is also given as an injection into the eye.
Lucentis and Eylea can both be used for:
- wet age-related macular degeneration
- macular edema (swelling) following retinal vein occlusion
- diabetic macular edema
- diabetic retinopathy
But unlike Lucentis, Eylea isn’t used for myopic choroidal neovascularization, which is an eye condition that affects certain people. For more information on these eye conditions, see the “What is Lucentis used for?” section directly below.
To learn more about how Lucentis compares with Eylea, view this drug article. Also, talk with your doctor about which medication is right for you.
If you have certain eye conditions, your doctor may prescribe Lucentis. It’s a prescription drug that’s used in adults for conditions affecting specific parts of the eye.
Lucentis can be used to improve vision in people with:
- Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Wet AMD causes blood vessels to form under your macula (the center part of your retina). These blood vessels can leak fluid and blood under your macula, leading to scarring. With wet AMD, you can lose your vision.
- Macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Edema (fluid buildup) in your macula can happen following the formation of a blood clot in the veins of your eye. This type of blood clot causes a condition called RVO.
- Diabetic macular edema (DME). DME is a complication of diabetes that causes edema in your macula. It occurs when diabetic retinopathy (discussed just below) starts to affect your macula.
- Diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR is a complication of diabetes that affects your retina (the part of your eye that allows you to see). With DR, blood vessels leak blood and fluid into your eye. If DR gets severe enough, new blood vessels may grow in the center of your eye.
- Myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV). mCNV is an eye condition in which abnormal blood vessels form in the back of the eye in people with nearsightedness. (With nearsightedness, you have trouble seeing things that are far away.) These blood vessels can cause irreversible damage to your eyesight.
Ranibizumab (the active drug in Lucentis) targets a certain protein and stops it from binding to its receptors (attachment sites). The protein that Lucentis works on is called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
VEGF, which promotes blood vessel growth, is found in the eyes of people with certain eye conditions. It’s the protein that’s responsible for wet AMD, macular edema following RVO, DR, DME, and mCNV.
By targeting VEGF and stopping it from attaching to its receptors, Lucentis blocks the activity of VEGF.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Lucentis.
Does Lucentis affect blood pressure?
Changes in blood pressure aren’t a side effect of Lucentis.
Lucentis belongs to a group of drugs called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors. Some VEGF inhibitors may cause increased blood pressure. But these VEGF inhibitors are given by mouth, unlike Lucentis, which is given as an injection into your eye.
While Lucentis doesn’t affect blood pressure, it can increase the pressure inside your eye.
Talk with your doctor if you have more questions about the effect of Lucentis on blood pressure.
How does Lucentis work?
Lucentis works by preventing the VEGF protein from binding to its receptors (attachment sites) in your eye. This is the drug’s mechanism of action.
VEGF is responsible for the formation of new blood vessels. The formation of new blood vessels is the cause of certain eye disorders, which Lucentis is used to treat.
By blocking VEGF from attaching to its receptors, Lucentis prevents the formation of new blood vessels.
Is Lucentis similar to Beovu?
Like Lucentis, Beovu is used for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But it’s not recommended for other eye conditions that Lucentis is used to treat. To learn more about wet AMD, see the “What is Lucentis used for?” section above.
Similar to Lucentis, Beovu belongs to the group of drugs called VEGF inhibitors. But the active ingredient in Beovu is brolucizumab, while the active drug in Lucentis is ranibizumab.
Both Lucentis and Beovu are given as intravitreal injections, which are injections into your eye.
To learn more about how these medications are alike and different, check out this drug article. And talk with your doctor about which drug is right for your needs.
Your doctor will explain how you’ll receive Lucentis. They’ll also explain how much you’ll receive and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Below are commonly used dosages, but always follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan.
Lucentis comes as a solution that your doctor will inject into your eye. The drug comes in both vials and prefilled syringes.
With prefilled syringes of Lucentis, the dose of medication needed is ready to be injected by your doctor. With vials of Lucentis, your doctor will need to draw up a dose of the drug from the vial into a syringe.
Both vials and prefilled syringes of Lucentis come in two strengths: 0.5 milligrams (mg) and 0.3 mg.
For most conditions, you’ll receive Lucentis as an injection into your eye once about every 28 days. Depending on why you’re using Lucentis, your doctor may change your injection frequency.
For wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), you may receive an injection once every month for 3 months. Then your doctor may lower your injection frequency. But some doctors may give four monthly doses, followed by one dose every 3 months.
To learn more about wet AMD and other conditions Lucentis treats, see the “What is Lucentis used for?” section above.
Taking Lucentis with other drugs
Before you receive Lucentis injections, your doctor will give you a medication to help numb your eye and lessen pain with the injection. This medication may be given topically as an eye drop or a gel. Or, it may be given as an injection into your eye.
Also, before your injection, your doctor will clean the surface of your eye with an antiseptic to prevent infections. If needed, your doctor will also give you eye drops to dilate your pupils (widen your pupils).
Questions about receiving Lucentis
Here are answers to some common questions about receiving Lucentis:
- What if I miss a dose of Lucentis? Your doctor will administer Lucentis as an injection. So, you’ll need an appointment to receive your doses of this drug. If you miss your appointment for Lucentis, call your doctor’s office to reschedule. Missing a dose of Lucentis may make the drug less effective in helping you keep your vision.
- Will I need to use Lucentis long term? Depending on what you’re using Lucentis to treat, you may need to use it long term. If you’re using Lucentis to treat myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV), you’ll likely only receive injections for 3 months. But this treatment course can be repeated if you and your doctor believe it’s needed. For the other conditions that Lucentis is prescribed for, you’ll likely take the drug long term if you and your doctor feel that it’s working for your condition. (To learn more about mCNV and the other conditions Lucentis treats, see the “What is Lucentis used for?” section above.)
- Should I take Lucentis with food? Lucentis is injected directly into your eye. How well your body absorbs this drug into your eye isn’t affected by whether you have a full or empty stomach.
- How long does Lucentis take to work? In studies, after 12 and 24 months of Lucentis treatment, some people didn’t have further vision loss due to their eye condition. And some people even had an improvement in their vision. But you might notice a difference with treatment sooner than this. Talk with your doctor to find out when Lucentis may start working for you given your eye condition.
Questions for your doctor
You may have questions about Lucentis and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.
Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:
- Before your appointment, write down questions like:
- How will Lucentis affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
- Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
- If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.
Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.
Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering treatment with Lucentis include:
- your overall health
- any medical conditions you may have
Also, tell your doctor if you’re taking any medications. This is important to do because some drugs may interfere with how Lucentis works.
These and other considerations to discuss with your doctor are described below.
The use of medications, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain drug can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Lucentis, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take (including prescription and over-the-counter types). Also, describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Lucentis.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
So far, there aren’t any known interactions between Lucentis and other drugs, vitamins, herbs, or supplements.
But to be safe, before starting Lucentis, tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking. If you need to take a medication, vitamin, herb, or supplement, talk with your doctor first to find out if it’s safe to do so with Lucentis.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions about PDT treatments and Lucentis.
Lucentis may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Lucentis. Factors to consider include those in the list below.
- Eye infections or infections surrounding your eye. If you have an infection in your eye or in the area around your eye, you can’t receive Lucentis. Your doctor will tell you when you can start Lucentis treatment.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Lucentis or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t receive this medication. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you. If you have an allergy to ranibizumab (the active drug in Lucentis) or any of Lucentis’s inactive ingredients, you may have severe inflammation in your eye if you use Lucentis.
- Glaucoma. Injecting medication, such as Lucentis, into your eye will increase the pressure inside your eye. Increased eye pressure is a risk factor for glaucoma (an eye condition that’s caused by high pressure in the eye). Before starting Lucentis, tell your doctor if you have glaucoma. Your doctor may recommend certain treatments to help lower the pressure in your eyes before you start using Lucentis.
Use with alcohol
Some medications interact with alcohol. But Lucentis isn’t one of them.
However, before starting Lucentis, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s safe for you to drink alcohol.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It’s not known whether it’s safe to use Lucentis during pregnancy. This drug’s effect in pregnant people hasn’t been studied yet.
If you’re pregnant, your doctor will give Lucentis to you only if it’s necessary. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy before starting Lucentis treatment.
It’s also not known if Lucentis passes into breast milk. And it’s unknown whether:
- Lucentis in breast milk would be harmful to a breastfed child
- Lucentis affects how your body makes breast milk
If you’re breastfeeding, your doctor will determine whether Lucentis is safe for you and your child.
If you have questions about Lucentis treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can tell you about other treatments you can use for your condition.
Here’s a list of articles that you might find helpful:
- The Latest Breakthroughs in Wet Macular Degeneration Treatment
- Gene-Therapy Treatment May Help People with Macular Degeneration
And some questions to ask your doctor about Lucentis may include:
- Which supplements or herbs can I take with Lucentis injections to improve my vision if I have wet age-related macular degeneration?
- Can I drive after receiving Lucentis injections?
- How can I reduce my anxiety before receiving Lucentis injections?
Will Lucentis cure my wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?Anonymous patient
No, Lucentis isn’t a cure for wet AMD. In fact, there currently isn’t a cure for wet AMD.
But treatment with Lucentis can help prevent or slow vision loss from wet AMD. And this was seen in studies of the drug.
If you have more questions about Lucentis or other treatments for wet AMD, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about the risks and benefits of wet AMD treatments and help you find the best treatment for your condition.Alex Brewer, PharmD, MBAAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.