The results of the CATT trial demonstrated that Avastin and Lucentis are equally effective for the treatment of wet macular degeneration. A small issue, since the release of that data, appears to be whether Avastin has more side effects than Lucentis.
The CATT trial results were data from the first year of a 2 year study. The results from the 1 year data of the CATT study did not directly address safety concerns between the two drugs.
Safety data, from the second year of the study, were released at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) this past weekend in Sarasota, FL.
The data indicates that the safety profile is equivalent in that the rates of death (<3%), stroke (about 2%) and all similar vascular events (about 1%) were statistically the same.
(Off the top of my head, I am not aware of the normal chance of these events occurring in a similar study group. This should be revealed at the conclusion of the study.)
What Does This Mean? As I stated last week, this further validates the use of Avastin for the treatment of wet macular degeneration. Not only is it cheaper and just as effective…but it appears that it is just as safe.
The systemic complications of death, stroke and “other” events, in my opinion, has been very difficult to sort out. These numbers do not necessarily mean an increased risk greater than normal (with or without the shots).
Remember that the chance of these events occurring increases as we age, that is, the study simply reports the rate of these occurring, but does not compare to the normal “chance” or incidence of one of the outcomes.
Eye disease, such as macular degeneration, increases as we age, too.