Why is this medication prescribed?
Ranibizumab is used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD; an ongoing disease of the eye that causes loss of the ability to see straight ahead and may make it more difficult to read, drive, or perform other daily activities). It is also used to treat macular edema after retinal vein occlusion (an eye disease caused by blockage of blood flow from the eye that leads to blurry vision and vision loss), diabetic macular edema (an eye disease caused by diabetes that can lead to vision loss), and diabetic retinopathy (damage to the eyes caused by diabetes). Ranibizumab is in a class of medications called vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) antagonists. It works by stopping abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage in the eye(s) that may cause vision loss.
How should this medicine be used?
Ranibizumab comes as a solution (liquid) to be injected into the eye by a doctor. It is usually given in a doctor’s office every month. Your doctor may give you injections on a different schedule if that is best for you.
Before you receive a ranibizumab injection, your doctor will clean your eye to prevent infection and numb your eye to reduce discomfort during the injection. You may feel pressure in your eye when the medication is injected. After your injection, your doctor will need to examine your eyes before you leave the office.
Ranibizumab controls certain eye conditions, but does not cure them. Your doctor will watch you carefully to see how well ranibizumab works for you. Talk to your doctor about how long you should continue treatment with ranibizumab.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving ranibizumab injection,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ranibizumab, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in ranibizumab injection. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention if you have received verteporfin (Visudyne) recently. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have an infection in or around your eyes. Your doctor may not give you ranibizumab until the infection is gone.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while receiving ranibizumab, call your doctor.
- Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops for you to use for a few days after you receive each injection. Talk to your doctor about how to use these eye drops.
- Ask your doctor if there are any activities you should avoid during your treatment with ranibizumab injection.
- You should plan to have someone drive you home after your treatment.
- Talk to your doctor about testing your vision at home during your treatment. Check your vision in both eyes as directed by your doctor, and call your doctor if there are any changes in your vision.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss an appointment to receive ranibizumab, call your doctor as soon as possible.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Ranibizumab injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- Dry or itchy eyes
- Teary eyes
- Feeling that something is in your eye
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- Eye redness
- Eye sensitivity to light
- Eye pain
- Decrease or changes in vision
- Bleeding in or around the eye
- Swelling of the eye or eyelid
- Seeing ”floaters” or small specks
- Seeing flashing lights
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Slow or difficult speech
- Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
Ranibizumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.