For babies at risk of blindness, one common
treatment may do more harm than good. I’m Shelby Cullinan with your latest health news. A new report from Taiwan found that the anti-cancer
drug Avastin may cause abnormally low blood pressure when used off-label to treat retinopathy
of prematurity (ROP), an eye disease that commonly affects babies born prematurely.
ROP causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, a light-sensitive layer of
tissue at the back of the eye. For this report, the study team looked at a pair of preterm
twins with ROP treated with Avastin. Before treatment, both twins had similar and stable
health. Twin B, a boy, developed abnormally low blood pressure within one day after treatment.
Because low blood pressure in babies can prevent the organs from getting enough blood and oxygen
to work well, he was then put on antibiotics and blood pressure medications for the next
two days. On the third day, his blood pressure returned to normal and his health stabilized
shortly after. Twin A, a girl, did not develop low blood pressure after treatment. Talk to
your doctor about the risks and benefits of any medication.