Age-related wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the back of the eye. The blood vessels grow behind the retina, underneath the macula (a part of the retina that is essential for detailed vision). These new blood vessels are not normal and are weak and prone to leaking. Leaking causes damage to the macula, which causes "wet" macular degeneration.
Pegaptanib is a molecule that is designed to bind to and inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is a naturally occurring protein that encourages the growth of new blood vessels (including the abnormal blood vessels in wet macular degeneration). By binding to VEGF, pegaptanib prevents this protein from encouraging new blood vessel growth. This helps to slow down (or even reverse) vision loss and macular damage.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Macugen [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc.;2006 July.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed July 12, 2007.
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