Greater Risks of Disability Tied to Bevacizumab Use in Preemies

Infants given the drug for retinopathy of prematurity more likely to have neurological complications
Infants given the drug for retinopathy of prematurity more likely to have neurological complications

HealthDay News — Bevacizumab (Avastin) used to treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) may be linked to serious disabilities such as cerebral palsy and hearing loss, according to a study published online March 17 in Pediatrics.

Julie Morin, MD, of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center in Montreal, and colleagues looked at 27 infants whose ROP was treated with bevacizumab, and 98 treated with laser surgery.

The researchers found that the odds of severe neurodevelopmental disabilities were 3.1 times higher in infants treated with bevacizumab versus laser, after adjustment for gestational age, gender, maternal education, Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology-II, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, sepsis, and severe brain injury.

"Preterm infants treated with bevacizumab versus laser had higher odds of severe neurodevelopmental disabilities," the authors conclude. "Further investigation on the long-term safety of antivascular endothelial growth factor treatment of ROP is needed."

Avastin manufacturer Genentech could not be reached for comment.

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