If you have a certain type of eye condition, your doctor might suggest Lucentis (ranibizumab) as a treatment option.

Lucentis is a prescription medication that’s used to treat the following conditions in adults:

Lucentis is a brand-name biologic medication. (Biologic drugs are made using living cells.)

The drug comes as a liquid solution that’s given by your doctor as an injection into your eye.

For an overview about Lucentis, including details about its uses, see this in-depth article.

Like other drugs, Lucentis injections can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

Some people may experience mild or serious side effects with Lucentis treatment. Examples of Lucentis’s more common side effects may include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Examples of mild eye-related side effects that have been reported with Lucentis include:

In studies, some mild side effects occurred that weren’t eye related. Examples include:

  • nose and throat infections
  • nausea
  • cough

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. Some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Don’t stop using Lucentis unless your doctor recommends it.

Lucentis may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Lucentis prescribing information.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Lucentis, visit MedWatch.

Although less common, Lucentis has caused serious side effects in some people. Serious side effects that have been reported with Lucentis include:

If you develop serious side effects during your Lucentis treatment, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
† An allergic reaction is possible after using Lucentis. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Lucentis’s side effects.

Will Lucentis cause any changes in my blood pressure?

No, Lucentis doesn’t cause changes in blood pressure. This wasn’t reported as a side effect during studies of the drug.

Lucentis can cause increased pressure in your eye. But this is usually temporary and isn’t related to your blood pressure.

Lucentis is a type of drug called a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor. Some other VEGF inhibitors may cause increases in blood pressure. These other VEGF inhibitors are either given by mouth or directly injected into your bloodstream. But because Lucentis is injected into your eye and is a very small amount, it doesn’t affect your blood pressure.

If you’ve noticed changes in your blood pressure, talk with your doctor. They can try to determine what may be the cause of these changes and what your next steps should be.

How long do side effects from Lucentis last?

It depends on the side effect. Here are a few examples and what you might expect:

  • Increased pressure in the eye may occur before and within 1 hour after receiving Lucentis treatment. This increase in pressure usually goes away within a few hours, but it may be chronic (long term) in rare cases. Your doctor will check your eye pressure before and after you get a Lucentis injection. This helps watch for both short-term and long-term changes to your eye pressure during your Lucentis treatment.
  • Eye pain may last for a few hours to a few days after your injection.
  • Eye floaters (tiny specks or strings that float in your field of vision) can be a permanent side effect. But in some cases, they can fade over time. Floaters are usually harmless.

If you’re experiencing bothersome side effects from Lucentis that aren’t going away, talk with your doctor.

Does Lucentis cause any long-term side effects?

The most common side effects of Lucentis are temporary. But in rare cases, serious side effects that led to long-term issues have occurred with Lucentis.

Lucentis can cause blood clots in some people, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. With a heart attack or stroke, reduced blood flow could cause brain damage, which can have long-term effects. (To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.)

If you have questions about long-term side effects of Lucentis, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more about some of the side effects Lucentis may cause.

Blood clots, which may lead to heart attack or stroke

In rare cases, Lucentis may cause blood clots. This has caused serious medical emergencies, including heart attack or stroke.

What might help

Call 911 or get emergency medical care right away if you experience signs of a heart attack or stroke. Symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • severe chest pain or pressure
  • trouble breathing
  • dizziness or fainting
  • pressure or pain in your upper body, such as your neck or arms
  • breaking into a cold sweat
  • nausea

Symptoms of a stroke typically appear suddenly, and may include:

  • numbness or weakness, especially if only on one side of the body
  • trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • confusion
  • trouble walking or with balance
  • trouble seeing in one or both eyes

If you develop blood clots from Lucentis, your doctor will likely prescribe medications to break up the clots. They’ll also discuss whether it’s safe for you to keep taking Lucentis, or if switching to a different medication may be best.

If you have questions about blood clots with Lucentis, talk with your doctor.

Eye pain

Eye pain can occur with Lucentis treatment. This was reported as a common side effect in studies of the drug. For most people, eye pain is mild and may last for a few hours to a few days after a Lucentis injection.

What might help

To help prevent eye pain, your doctor will use eye drops to numb your eye before the injection. After the injection, your eye may feel sore for a few hours or up to a few days. It may help to wear sunglasses after your injection in case your eyes feel sensitive to light. It can also help to rest your eyes once you get home.

If eye pain doesn’t go away or becomes severe, it’s important to call your doctor right away. Severe eye pain can be a symptom of a rare but serious side effect called endophthalmitis (severe inflammation in your eye).

Increased pressure in your eye

Some people may have increased eye pressure with Lucentis injections. This side effect was reported in studies of the drug, but it wasn’t serious in most people. Increased eye pressure has occurred before and within 1 hour after an injection.

When your doctor is injecting Lucentis, you may feel the sensation of pressure in your eye. This feeling is temporary and will go away on its own.

What might help

Your doctor will check your eye pressure before and after each Lucentis injection. If your eye pressure remains high, they may recommend treatment to lower it before your next Lucentis injection.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Lucentis can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Reported symptoms of an allergic reaction with Lucentis include severe inflammation (swelling) in the eye.

Although not reported in studies of Lucentis, other symptoms of allergic reactions have occurred in people taking other vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors. (Lucentis is also a VEGF inhibitor.)

These symptoms may be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), to manage your symptoms.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Lucentis, they’ll decide if you should continue receiving it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Lucentis, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Lucentis treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dosage of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dosage you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were also taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help your doctor learn more about how the drug affects you. Your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

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. The list below includes factors to consider.

Glaucoma. Lucentis injections can increase the pressure inside your eye. This may be harmful if you have glaucoma. Before starting Lucentis treatment, tell your doctor about any eye conditions you have, including glaucoma. They may recommend a treatment to lower your eye pressure before giving you Lucentis injections.

Infections of your eye or near your eye. You shouldn’t use Lucentis if you have an infection in your eye or in the skin around your eye. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of an eye infection, such as eye irritation, redness, crusting, drainage, or fever. Your Lucentis treatment will be postponed until after your infection is treated.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Lucentis or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Lucentis. Ask your doctor about other treatment options.

Alcohol use and Lucentis

It should be safe to drink alcohol during your Lucentis treatment. If you have questions about alcohol use before or after your Lucentis treatment, talk with your doctor.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while using Lucentis

It’s not known if Lucentis is safe to use during pregnancy. This is because this drug hasn’t been studied during pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before starting Lucentis treatment.

It’s also not known whether it’s safe to take Lucentis while breastfeeding or if the drug passes into breast milk. Studies haven’t yet looked at the effects of Lucentis on breastmilk or on a breastfed child.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about whether Lucentis is right for you.

Lucentis is an effective treatment option for certain eye problems. But like other drugs, it may cause mild or serious side effects in some people.

When you’re considering a new treatment option, it’s common to have questions about side effects. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Do my medical conditions raise my risk for side effects from Lucentis?
  • If I experience side effects with my first Lucentis injection, are the same side effects likely to occur with future injections?
  • Does my eye condition raise my risk for side effects with Lucentis?
  • Should I use my other prescription eye drops on the day of my Lucentis treatment?

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 another 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.