Some medicinal uses are discovered by chance. This is the case with Avastin, which was initially developed for the treatment of cancer .
But as it was being used and prescribed, the researchers realized that the patients who were using such a drug showed improvement in the cases of ocular complications.
Although the package insert indicates Avastin only for the treatment of cancer, Anvisa authorizes the administration, on an exceptional basis, for ocular complications.
What is Avastin?
Avastin is a biological medicine for hospital use, that is, it should be applied only by a qualified health professional, such as doctors and nurses.
The application is intravenous, that is, Avastin is placed directly into the patient’s vein with the aid of a hospital hose (the same one that is used for the application of serum).
The active ingredient in this drug is Bevacizumab (an antibody that helps prevent the growth of malignant tumors). The dosage of the drug varies according to the medical orientation and body weight of each patient.
What is Avastin injection for?
Avastin has is indicated to treat metastatic cancer in the lung, breast, kidney, colorectal or cervical region. In such cases, this medicine is administered intravenously.
Although there is no indication in the package insert, this remedy can also be indicated by some specialists to treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) that causes vision damage in people over 65 years of age.
Over time, AMD causes the person to lose central vision, leaving only peripheral vision.
Unfortunately, this disease still has no cure, although treatment can help relieve symptoms such as blurred vision, dry eyes and inability to see in darker environments. In addition, the condition may, in some cases, be oriented towards surgical treatment.
What is the injection for in the eye for?
The injections applied in the eyes aim to alleviate and cure eye complications (such as infections, loss of vision caused by diabetes , diseases in the retina and age-related macular degeneration).
This form of treatment can still be complemented with the use of lasers, eye drops and other medications, depending on each case.
When Avastin is applied directly to the eye (intra-vitreous injection), this medicine is used to relieve the symptoms of eye diseases such as AMD.
How is an ophthalmic injection?
This ophthalmic injection is applied to the eyes, in the vitreous part (which is located at the bottom of the eyeball, opposite the pupil). Between 30 and 60 minutes before the procedure, the pupil is dilated with eye drops. The injection lasts a few minutes and must be administered in a hospital by an ophthalmologist.
The procedure is painless and the recovery process is fast (about 1 week).
Gradually, the patient can return to their normal activities, such as physical activity, driving and driving and reading.
Postoperative care may also include the use of eye drops, compresses and eye exercises (such as moving the eyes and controlling the amount of blinking).
Complications caused by most ophthalmic injections are rare and usually reversible, such as retinal detachment and eye infections.
Avastin intra vitreous cure cancer?
As far as is known, this injection applied to the eyes has no properties to cure cancer. Some specialists use Avastin intra-vitreous to treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Over time, such a disease causes the person to lose central vision, leaving only peripheral vision.
On the other hand, if the medication is applied directly to the vein (intravenous use), Avastin tends to help treat the metastasis of some types of cancer (such as lung and breast cancer), which can lead to a cure.
It is worth mentioning that the cancer cure process is long and painful, in addition to depending on several factors, such as the patient’s general condition, use of other medications and correct nutrition.
Therefore, in cases of doubt, the ideal is to seek medical assistance from the professional who accompanies the case.
What are the side effects?
The most common reactions caused by Avastin are diarrhea , vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, headache, weight loss and tiredness . In more severe cases, it can cause perforations in the intestine, hemorrhage (mainly in the lungs), obstruction of the airway by a blood clot ( pulmonary embolism ).
Other symptoms are:
- Variation in blood pressure (which may rise or fall);
- Bleeding from the nose;
- Decrease in the number of platelets in the blood;
- Weight loss;
- Urinary infection;
- Difficulty breathing (dyspnoea);
- Spots on the skin;
- Eye disorders and tearing;
- Loss of physical strength (asthenia).
During treatment with Avastin, female fertility can be compromised, and it is recommended to maintain contraception methods during and for up to 6 months after using the medication.
This drug is contraindicated for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and people under the age of 18.
The use of it during pregnancy can impair the formation, development and healthy growth of the baby. The package insert also guides you to avoid use during breastfeeding, because, although there is no confirmation of excretion by breastfeeding, it is possible that it will occur.
People who have heart problems should use this drug with caution. That’s because Avastin can favor heart attacks and strokes in patients who already have heart complications (such as high cholesterol and heart failure).
Does SUS provide the injection?
Yes, the Unified Health System (SUS) offers Avastin free of charge.
To obtain this right, the patient needs to go to a basic health unit and prove the need for such medication through a medical report.
After this confirmation, the Specialized Pharmaceutical Assistance Component (CEAF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, will make the request for the drug to the Public Ministry (responsible for the purchase and distribution of the drug).
In such cases, it is necessary to provide a quote for the medication. To facilitate this process, you can request a judicial budget, simply and quickly.
Just access this link and fill out the form!
Avastin can be presented in 4mL and 16mL vials:
- Avastin 25mg / mL, box with 1 vial with 4mL of solution for intravenous use can be purchased from R $ 1,408 *.
- Avastin 25mg / mL, box with 1 vial with 16mL of solution for intravenous use costs about R $ 5.70 *.
* Average prices consulted in December 2019. Prices may change.
Is there a generic?
Not generic, but there is another drug with the same active ingredient, the biosimilar Mvasi, which was approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) at the beginning of 2019. Despite this, it is not yet being marketed in Brazil.
Avastin is a medication used to fight cancer and improve eye complications. But, it can bring complications such as weight loss, difficulty breathing, spots on the dermis and anemia .
Therefore, avoid self-medication and only use Avastin if you have medical recommendations. The newsroom of Hickey solution brings other texts on eye health . Follow our posts !!