Magazine article Drug Topics

No Pressure

Magazine article Drug Topics

No Pressure

Article excerpt

There is good news for patients who want to reduce eye pressure without suffering many of the side effects caused by oral medicine. Merck & Co. is now manufacturing eyedrops that treat elevated intraocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. Trusopt (dorzolamide hydrochloride ophthalmic solution), according to the manufacturer, is he first carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (CAI) available in a topical form.

Though oral CAIs have been used for many years to reduce elevated eye pressure in glaucoma patients, the compliance rates have been poor. This is due to the side effects associated with the drug, such as gastrointestinal disturbances and drowsiness.

Because dorzolamide hydrochloride ophthalmic solution is a sulfonamide that is absorbed systemically, some side effects attributable to oral CAIs may occur. However, no acid-base disturbances or electrolyte imbalances were reported in patients using the topical solution.

In clinical trials of dorzolamide hydrochloride ophthalmic solution, only 5% of the patients discontinued treatment because of side effects. The most common adverse reactions to dorzolamide hydrochloride ophthalmic solution included temporary burning, stinging, or other discomfort immediately following application, as well as a bitter taste. Superficial punctate keratitis (SPK) was present in 10% to 15% of the patients, but that may have been caused by the preservatives used in the solution, according to Merck. Allergic reaction occurred in 10% of the patients. …

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