MACUGEN (pegaptanib sodium injection)

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What is wet-related macular degeneration (AMD) and how will it affect me?

Anatomy of the eye

The retina is in the back of the eye. At the center of the retina is a part called the macula. The macula lets you see things right in front of you (this is called central vision) so you can read and see fine detail.

What is wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Wet AMD develops after blood vessels in the eye are encouraged to grow by an abnormal amount of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These blood vessels can leak blood into the area of the eye that contains the retina.

This leakage leads to fluid collection underneath the macula, which damages it. A damaged macula may cause you to lose your sharp, central vision over time. If left untreated, wet AMD can lead to total blindness.

How will wet AMD affect me?

Common vision symptoms of wet AMD include:

  • Dark spot (or spots) in vision
  • Straight lines may look wavy
    Side or “peripheral” vision, however, is rarely affected

Common objects, such as a bookcase, can appear out of alignment or wavy and your vision may cause reading to become more difficult.

The visual effects of wet AMD are caused by the leaking vessels in your eye. If any of the symptoms above worsen, contact your retina specialist immediately.

Monitor your vision

You should periodically test yourself at home with the Amsler Grid.

What to Expect in Your Eye Exam:

  • Dilated eye exam
    • Your retina specialist will put drops in your eyes to fully dilate the pupil. They will then use a special instrument to examine the back of your eye, looking for fluid or blood that represents wet AMD.
  • Fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA)
    • During this test, your doctor injects a colored dye into a vein, usually in your arm. The dye travels to and highlights the blood vessels in your eye. A special camera takes pictures as the dye travels through the blood vessels in your eyes. The images will show if you have abnormal blood vessels or retinal changes due to wet AMD.
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
    • This test takes detailed pictures of your retina. It identifies areas of thinning, thickening, or swelling. This test is also used to help monitor how the retina rsponds to treatments.
  • Autofluorescence imaging (AF)
    • This test uses an instrument similar to other retinal cameras to take detailed images of the back on your eye. It will show the changes that result from wet AMD, like fluid buildup.

Learn How MACUGEN Works to Help >>


MACUGEN (pegaptanib sodium injection) is approved to treat wet age-related macular degeneration, a condition that could affect your vision due to leaking blood vessels in your eye.


  • You should not receive Macugen (pegaptanib sodium injection) if you have an infection in or around your eye or if you are allergic to pegaptanib sodium or any of the other ingredients. Contact your doctor immediately if you have unusual swelling, rash, or difficulty breathing after having a Macugen injection.
  • In the days following Macugen administration, you may be at risk for the development of endophthalmitis (inflammation of the inner coats of the eye due to an infection). If the eye becomes red, sensitive to light, painful, or develops a change in vision, contact your doctor immediately so you can be treated early if an infection occurs.
  • Macugen can increase eye pressure within 30 minutes after it is injected into your eye. Your doctor may do some extra tests after your injection to make sure there are no complications or problems.
  • Serious side effects related to the injection procedure have been seen in patients receiving eye injections such as Macugen. These include endophthalmitis, a separation in the retina referred to as retinal detachment, and cataract. Less than 1% of injections have caused a serious side effect.
  • The following side effects were reported by 10-40% of patients treated with Macugen for up to two years in clinical studies: eye swelling, blurred vision, cataract, increased redness in the white of the eye, discharge from the eye, eye irritation, eye pain, high blood pressure, increased eye pressure, eye discomfort, visual disturbances, burning sensation, redness, light sensitivity, and vision loss.

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