You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking pegaptanib if you have:
- An infection in or around the eyes
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Macugen and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Macugen and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Pegaptanib to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
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.