Pegaptanib Sodium (Injection)

Overview

Pegaptanib was shown in the clinical trials to be effectual after a decade of preclinical development to characterize and optimize its biological effects. The drug is actually the first FDA-approved remedy for neovascular AMD to specifically target VEGF.

It aids in preventing further growth of blood vessels and reduction of leakage which promotes gradual loss of vision by binding to VEGF. Therefore, it has the notable distinction as being the first aptamer therapeutic recommended for humans and it paves the way for future aptamer applications.

Pegaptanib may also be used for other means that have not been mentioned in the medication guide.

Conditions Treated

Neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration.

Type Of Medicine

Antivascular endothelial growth factors.

Side Effects

Apart from its positive effects, pegaptanib may also have some negative effects on the patient. Not all of these side effects may occur to you or rather they happen less often, but you should seek medical attention if they do. If you don't then it may lead to serious problems or medical conditions.

The most common unwanted effects that are clinical and need quick medical help include; swelling around your eyes, eye pain or redness, sudden vision problems, eyes become more sensitive to light, seeing "floaters" in your vision or seeing flashes of light. Patients have reported sudden weakness or numbness, especially on one side of the body. Confusion, sudden severe headache, problems with speech or balance has also been reported. You are advised to stop taking the medication and consult with your doctor.

Some side effects that may occur may not necessarily need medical help. These effects may disappear during treatment as the body gets used to the medicine. You may also learn ways to reduce or prevent some of the side effects from your healthcare professional. Some of the less critical side effects may include; blurred vision, watery eyes, swelling of the eyelids, and discomfort after injection or mild eye pain.

Other side effects of pegaptanib may not have been reported yet. Remember to talk to your healthcare specialist concerning any worries or symptoms that you may notice while taking the medication and get the right medical advice. You may also report the side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosage

Pegaptanib is supplied as a single-use glass syringe in a sterile foil pouch. The pegaptanib syringe is pre-filled with 0.3 mg of the content in a simple 90 ?L solution.

Pegaptanib sodium is given by injection into your eye. The doctor will perform the injection under a local anesthetic to make the eye numb in the doctor's office or any other clinic setting. Pegaptanib 0.3 mg is administered into the eye once every six weeks. To prevent any infection, your doctor may ask you to use an antibiotic eye drop before and after pegaptanib injection for a few days.

Before the procedure is performed, pegaptanib must be inspected for discoloration before administration and inspected visually for particulate matter. If the liquid is discolored or there are any visible particulates observed, then the syringe should not be used.

The procedure of injection must be carried out under proper aseptic conditions that include the use of a sterile eyelid speculum, a sterile drape and sterile gloves. The patient's medical history should be evaluated before performing the intravitreal procedure for hypersensitivity reactions.

Patients should be monitored following the injection of endophthalmitis and for elevation in intraocular pressure. Monitoring can consist of tonometry within 30 minutes of the injection, a check of optic nerve head just after the injection, and monitoring in the course of the week following the injection. The patient should immediately report any symptoms related to endophthalmitis.

The dose of medication may vary from one person to the other. The dosage could be affected by things such as other medical conditions, body weight or other medications. Therefore, if you have been recommended a different dose by your doctor other than the one mentioned above, do not change your dosage without medical consultation. Ensure to take your medication exactly as your doctor prescribed it.

Interactions

It's not very certain that other drugs that you take can have an effect on pegaptanib that is used in the eyes. But there is a possibility that drugs could interact with each other. Inform your doctor about all the prescription, herbal medications or over-the-counter medications that you are currently using. Tell them about any supplements that you are using too. Street drugs, alcohol, caffeine or the nicotine from cigarettes are known to affect the action of any medication, therefore, let the doctor know whether you use them.

Depending on the specific circumstance, your prescriber may ask you to; stop taking either of the medications, change how you are taking the medications, change one medication to another or leave everything as it is. An interaction between medications will not always mean that you should stop taking one of them. Mostly, it's managed by close monitoring. Talk to your prescriber about how drug interactions should be managed. You should not try any new form of medication without consulting with your doctor.

The medications that are known to interact with pegaptanib medication include; Krystexxa and pegloticase. There is one disease interaction associated and is known as ocular infections. The medication may be contraindicated if you are a patient with hypersensitivity to pegaptanib sodium or any related product.

Warnings

Since pegaptanib medication can cause blurred vision or temporary vision problems, take caution when driving, operating machines or when doing anything which requires you to see clearly.

After a short period of time that pegaptanib has been injected into your eye, it could increase eye pressure. Make sure your doctor does a test to ensure that the intraocular pressure in your eye does not increase after treatment.

Pregnant women are not advised to use this medication unless its benefits outdo its risks. On the other hand, if you get pregnant while still on the medication, call your doctor immediately to receive guidance on whether you should stop using the medication or its okay to continue.

If you have liver or kidney problems, talk to your doctor and know; how the medication can affect your medical condition, how your medical condition can affect the effectiveness of the medication and dosage or if any special monitoring is required.

Breastfeeding mothers should be cautious if they are taking this medication since it can affect their babies. Though it's not known if pegaptanib can pass into breast milk, ask your prescriber if you should continue breastfeeding the baby.

Pegaptanib may lead to eye problems after the injection as it may infect the inner part of your eye; detachment or tear of the retina, redness, clouding of the lens, pain or inflammation. Contact your doctor if you witness any of the following:

  • Eye pain
  • Blurred or reduced vision
  • Increased number of small particles in your vision
  • Increase in sensitivity of your eyes to light.

Storage

Store the medication in the refrigerator but do not allow it to freeze. You are not supposed to shake it vigorously too. Pegaptanib medication should be kept out of direct light or sunlight and out of children's reach.

When disposing of the medication, do not dispose of in household garbage or in wastewater like in the toilet or down the sink. Ask your pharmacist the proper way to dispose of medicines that have expired or are no longer in use.

Summary

Pegaptanib is an antagonist to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is a protein which specifically binds and activates the receptors that are located on the surface of vascular endothelial cells. VEGF increases vascular permeability and inflammation, and it induces angiogenesis, all of which are responsible for the progression of neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness. VEGF has also been implicated in pathological ocular neovascularization and in blood-retina barrier.

Though pegaptanib is a remedy, it also has negative effects even when taken in normal doses. Do not take this medication if you're a person that's allergic to pegaptanib or the ingredients related to the medication. If you have any type of fungal, bacterial, viral infection, cataracts, glaucoma or you're suspected to have an infection around the eye, then you shouldn't take the medication too. Seek medical consultation from a qualified doctor to know the related implications. If not, then the medication may lead to medical problems that can either be temporary or permanent.

Always keep pegaptanib or any other medicines safely and out of children's reach. Finish your medicines as prescribed and don't share your medicines with others. Remember to also use this medication strictly for the indication prescribed. Talk to your pharmacist if you are interested in knowing more information about pegaptanib.