What You Should Know to Choose Your Ideal Ophthalmic Drug Solution
Until recently, patients suffering from common ophthalmic ailments such as retinal disorders, glaucoma, and dry eye have largely been prescribed anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, anti-glaucoma, and anti-allergy agents, in addition to off-label steroidal medications, and warm compresses.
Research in the field of ophthalmology towards diagnosis and treatments have resulted in the introduction of options such as oral anti-inflammatory drugs, topical medications, heat-based treatments, amniotic membranes, and point-of-care treatments.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, OTC drugs are likely to remain the most popular among patients, owing to the ease of accessibility and relatively lower costs. Modern pharmaceutical manufacturers are leveraging developments in delivery techniques, combinations of drugs, and advanced formulations, aimed to make dosing easier with reduced drug requirements to meet the needs of individual patients.
Modern Approach to Ophthalmic Drugs
Eye care technology has gone through rapid evolution in recent years. The introduction of dilated eye examinations and procedures such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), have allowed for significant improvements to bolster the accuracy of diagnostics in ophthalmology, thereby boosting success for treatments with targeted medications.
Conventional eye care drugs usually comprised anti-histamines and were prone to create dryness of eyes, increasing irritation and redness. New drug options however, come with combinations of hyaluronic acid and glycerin which has been found to aid in superior hydration.
Corticosteroids for Inflammation
Corticosteroids are often available in the form of topical medications, which boost the production of glycoproteins that locally generate immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects by reducing vasodilation, stabilizing membranes, and cutting down vascular permeability. As per a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology clinical trials on these drugs have displayed substantial success for anti-inflammatory function through general injection and corneal staining, making it a much more flexible treatment option for healthcare professionals.
The Role of Antibiotics
Broad spectrum antibiotics remain a popular treatment option, with lipid regulation and bacterial protein synthesis inhibition functions. Antibiotics also prove useful for improving stability of tear films, reducing irritation through lower-dose, long-term medication, with lower risks of side effects. These drugs are commonly used in controlling bacterial growth and the generation of inflammatory cytokines. Azithromycin and doxycycline have found roles in treating dysfunctions of meibomian glands.
Compounded Drugs Making Inroads
Compounded ophthalmic medications are gradually gaining attention as pharmaceutical manufacturers take efforts to minimize the complexity of post-operative medication regimens. Compounded medications often comprise combinations of prednisolone sodium phosphate, gatifloxacin, bromfenac, prednisolone phosphate, and ketorolac tromethamine among others.
Also, these medication options provide superior outcomes at relatively lower prices, despite ordinarily not being approved by regulatory bodies like the FDA. With convenient options for dosage, the use of compounded drugs helps in boosting compliance.
Sustained Drug Release Technologies
Despite being commonly used patients for post-operative treatments following cataract and refractive surgery, the use of topical drops face dosing challenges. Inconsistent bioavailability, lack of adherence to dosage schedules, and suboptimal formulations hurt patient experience and outcomes. Sustained release technology helps significantly in mitigating these issues.
Modern post-operative ophthalmic drugs are increasingly being administered through preservative-free inserts, which removes the need for conventional drop schedules, and replaces it with a tapered and consistent dosage of drugs to ocular surface for multiple days. The issue of non-compliance has generated substantial commercialization opportunities to treat post-operative inflammation and pain, given currently available treatment options.
Potential of Anti-VEGF Formulations
So far, anti-VEGF agents have found key roles in tumor progression and rheumatological disorder treatments. However, these drugs are likely to find new opportunities in the potential treatments for eye ailments.
Prominent VEGF inhibitor drugs include ranibizumab, aflibercept, and bevacizumab. Approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), these drugs have displayed success in reducing new, abnormal blood vessel growth, which could result in swelling at the macular region of the retina in the back of the eye.
Supplements for Macular Degeneration
For aged patients, macular degeneration is one of the more common causes for vision loss. Supplements for antioxidants and key vitamins and minerals have displayed positive outcomes in slowing down the progression of dry macular degeneration.
With supplements being available in easy-to-consume, chewable and mini-gel formats and growing awareness among the patient base, supplement solutions are likely to become mainstream in the field of eye care.
While considering potential ophthalmic treatment options, clinicians often look at factors such as ocular surface stains, osmolarity, treatment history, and signs of inflammation. The use of multiple therapy options simultaneously including off-label options, concomitant anti-inflammatory drugs, and oral antibiotics are gaining ground among eye-care professionals for faster outcomes.
Complexity of medication regimens is a clear challenge for patients. Issues such as forgetfulness and poor dexterity, especially among the elderly limits drug efficacy. The simplification of drop routines has resulted in better outcomes by improvements to compliance. On the whole, efforts towards patient awareness on eye care management will remain essential for better diagnostic understanding of the ocular surface of an individual and appropriate treatment choices for the foreseeable future.