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Susvimo (ranibizumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2024

Susvimo® (ranibizumab injection) is approved to treat people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who have previously responded to at least 2 anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections.1,2

Susvimo is a 2-part system that includes an eye implant filled with medicine. A doctor places the implant into the eye during a one-time outpatient procedure. The medicine is continuously delivered into the eye through the implant, which is refilled every 6 months.1

Susvimo is the first treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for wet AMD that offers as few as 2 treatments per year. Susvimo belongs to a class of medicines that block VEGF and reduce its effects. Susvimo helps control AMD, but it does not cure it.1-3

What is anti-VEGF therapy?

In healthy people, the VEGF protein promotes the growth of new blood vessels. In people with wet AMD, there is too much VEGF in the eye. This leads to an abnormal growth of weak, leaky blood vessels that affect vision.4,5

Blocking the VEGF protein reduces the growth of weak, leaky blood vessels in people with MD. This can slow the progression of MD. Anti-VEGF therapy like Susvimo delivers substances to the eye that can block and reduce the production of VEGF and its effects.5

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What are the ingredients in Susvimo?

The active ingredient in Susvimo is ranibizumab.1-3

How does Susvimo work?

Susvimo works by continuously releasing ranibizumab into the eye. The drug blocks or reduces the production of VEGF protein in the eye. This halts the growth of weak, leaky blood vessels in the eye, which can lead to reduced vision.1-3

The implant will need to be refilled with medicine every 6 months by a doctor. Susvimo can replace other anti-VEGF delivery methods that require monthly eye injections.1-3

What are the possible side effects of Susvimo?

The most common side effects of Susvimo include:2

  • Bursting of small blood vessels just beneath the clear suface of the eye (conjunctival hemorrhage)
  • Dilation of blood vessels in the eye (conjunctival hyperemia)
  • Swelling and irritation in the eye's pupil (iritis)
  • Eye pain

The Susvimo implant and procedures to insert, fill, refill, and remove the impact can cause serious side effects, including:2

  • Tear and separation of layers of the retina
  • Implant movement
  • Bleeding within the vitreous (gel-like fluid) inside your eye
  • Bumps on top of the white layer of the eye
  • Temporary decrease in vision after the implant procedure

Susvimo has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the FDA. It has this warning because people taking Susvimo have a higher risk of inflammation of tissues and fluids in their eye (endophthalmitis) compared to those who receive ranibizumab through monthly eye injections. Endophthalmitis is usually caused by infection.2

These are not all the possible side effects of Susvimo. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Susvimo. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Susvimo.

Things to know about Susvimo

After the implant is placed, your doctor will have a list of instructions to follow to care for the implant. Be sure to follow these instructions. For example, you should avoid rubbing, touching, or placing pressure on your eye for 30 days.2

After the implant is placed, you will receive a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) implant card. This will contain details about your implant. Show this card to current and future doctors. This is important if you need to have an MRI. You may only receive an MRI under very specific conditions if you have the Susvimo implant.2

Susvimo should not be used if you:2

  • Have an infection in or around your eye
  • Have active swelling, pain, or redness around your eye
  • Are allergic to any ingredients in Susvimo

Before receiving Susvimo, tell your doctor if you are:2

  • Taking or have recently taken medicines that lower the chance of blood clots forming in the body, such as warfarin, aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • Breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed

A clinical study showed that Susvimo worked equally well compared to monthly injections of ranibizumab in terms of vision effects. One to 2 people out of every 100 who use Susvimo may need refills of ranibizumab more frequently than every 6 months.1,6

As with all therapeutic proteins, there is a risk for an immune response to Susvimo. During this response, the body's immune system makes anti-drug antibodies that make the drug less effective or ineffective. This is known as immunogenicity.2

Before beginning treatment for macular degeneration, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Susvimo.

Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.