This off-label treatment poses an unnecessary risk to consumers and our lawyers are currently pursuing litigation against the compounding pharmacies involved in the packaging, handling and shipping of Avastin syringes used in eye procedures.”
What is Avastin?
Avastin (bevacizumab) is considered an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drug and manufactured by Genentech, a biotechnology corporation based out of San Francisco. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 for the intravenous treatment of certain types of cancer.
According to the manufacturers website, Avastin is approved to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) for:
- First- or second-line treatment in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil–based chemotherapy
- Second-line treatment when used with fluoropyrimidine-based (combined with irinotecan or oxaliplatin) chemotherapy after cancer progresses following a first-line treatment that includes Avastin
Avastin Eye Injection Controversy
For a number of years, ophthalmologists have been injecting Avastin into the eyes of people suffering from macular degeneration and other related eye disorders. This treatment, when manufactured and packaged correctly, has proven to be successful for many patients. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly apparent that a number of patients have been subjected to defective and unsafe packaging practices by the compounding pharmacies that are shipping this product to doctors.
The treatment of macular degeneration with Avastin eye injections is an off-label procedure that is not approved by the FDA. The syringes containing the drug are also NOT shipped from the manufacturer but filled and shipped from a number of large compounding facilities located throughout America.
These compounding facilities essentially take Avastin and repackage it by placing the drug into syringes, freezing them and then shipping them to opthamologists.
Although, they have recently changed their practices, many of these compounders were placing the drug into plastic syringes (sometimes diabetic syringes) that were not intended for retinal use.
Some of syringes that are causing unnecessary side effects among patients are coated with silicone.
Silicone Laced Injections Can Lead to Serious Eye Damage
When the syringes containing Avastin are frozen for shipment by the compounding facilities, the silicone residue on the needle freezes and becomes a solid. Unfortunately, a large number of patients have reported silicone floaters and silicone contamination in their eyes after having the procedure done by their doctors.
Floaters are caused by silicone oil pockets and can cause irreversible damage to the eye. Oil pockets occur when a migration of silicone to the surface of the needle is inadvertently mixed into the Avastin injection. The silicone may inadvertently be injected into the eye in the form of a solid or as microdroplets.
Regardless of the silicone’s physical state, eye floaters and silicone contamination in the eye can not only cause visual discomfort but an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) which sometimes leads to corrective ocular surgery. IOP can lead to infection, inflammation, retinal tearing or detachment, and even blindness.