Magazine article Drug Topics

The Eyes Have It

Magazine article Drug Topics

The Eyes Have It

Article excerpt

In short order, the Food & Drug Administration has approved three new drugs for glaucoma patients. For at least two million people in the United States affected by glaucoma, these agents will provide alternatives in treating the elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) associated with glaucoma.

The three new drugs are travoprost ophthalmic solution 0.004% (Travatan, Al- con), bimatoprost ophthalmic solution 0.03% (Lumigan, Allergan), and brimonidine ophthalmic solution 0.15% (Alphagan P, Allergan).

Travoprost and bimato- prost are approved for reducing elevated IOP for patients with open-- angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension who are intolerant of, or inadequately controlled when using, other IOP-lowering medications.

According to the FDA, travoprost and bimatoprost exhibited similar ef- fects in lowering ocular pressure in separate clinical trials. Both medications showed greater efficacy in lowering IOP in comparison with the current gold standard for glaucoma, timolol (Timoptic, Merck) and to the prostaglandin inhibitor, latanoprost (Xalatan, Pharmacia).

Side effects of the two agents inelude gradual darkening of the eye color; darkening of eyelid skin; and increased thickness, number, and darkness of eyelashes. These side effects precluded the two drugs from being indicated as first-line treatment. The implications of these effects are unknown and are currently being evaluated for long-term safety. Other adverse reactions reported were conjunctival hyperemia (with 3% discontinuing therapy) and ocular pruritus. …

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