Avastin® at Northmark Pharmacy
Avastin® is the brand name for a drug called bevacizumab. While Avastin was originally created to treat cancer, ophthalmologists discovered that this medication is effective in treating a variety of retinal diseases. When Avastin is used by eye doctors, it needs to be specially prepared by a compounding pharmacy. Northmark Pharmacy, which was founded by The Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI), is a leading provider of Avastin for ophthalmic purposes and is licensed in many states throughout the U.S. We are a PCAB-Accredited compounding pharmacy with rigorous sterility and safety standards.
Compounded Avastin for Retinal Diseases
As the most commonly used compounded medication in ophthalmology, Avastin may be used to treat 1:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Retinal Vein Occlusion
- Choroidal Neovascularization
- Macular Edema
How Does Avastin Work for Patients with Eye Diseases?
Avastin is an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medication, which means that it works to reduce blood vessel growth. This is helpful in treating retinal diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, because these conditions can cause abnormal blood vessels to grow in a way that is harmful to the optic nerve. Avastin stops or slows the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which can improve vision, reduce the chance of these fragile vessels leaking, and prevent damage to the optic nerve. Avastin is administered by intravitreal injection.
Understanding Off-Label Medication Use
Avastin was developed to treat certain kinds of cancer, so the rigorous FDA approval process of testing for safety and efficacy was performed specifically for that purpose. Once a drug has been approved by the FDA, it is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe it for conditions other than the intended use. In fact, studies estimate that more than 20% of prescriptions for commonly used medications are for off-label use 2. Certain drugs, such as Avastin, may be widely recognized as effective for different uses than they were originally intended. One reason that drugs may continue to be used off-label is that the process of obtaining FDA approval for an additional purpose can be very costly and time-consuming. A benefit of Avastin for eye disease treatment is that it is a cost-effective alternative to other retinopathy treatments.
How Does Compounding Work for Avastin?
Avastin is manufactured in a dosage and packaging that is not compatible with ophthalmic use. Repackaging a medication requires meticulous care and specific quality standards and protocol in order to ensure that the safety and efficacy of the medication is not compromised. The experienced compounding pharmacists at Northmark Pharmacy work directly with eye doctors and we have produced more than 10,000 Avastin syringes for patients with retinopathy and macular degeneration.
Contact Northmark Pharmacy
Northmark Pharmacy is dedicated to sterile product processing for ophthalmology products; ensuring a reliable supply of sight-saving and cost effective Avastin for ophthalmic use is a cornerstone of our mission. If you are seeking Avastin or other compounded prescriptions for ophthalmic use, see our ordering information for prescribing doctors or contact us with any questions.
1 McCune D. Review of Ophthalmology. Compounded Drugs
A look at the benefits and risks of prescribing compounded medications. Published December 10, 2016. Available: http://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/article/compounded-drugs
2 Radley DC, Finkelstein SN, Stafford RS. Off-label prescribing among office-based physicians. Arch Intern Med. 2006 May 8; 166(9):1021-6.