Eye doc calls for more sustained drug delivery systems for ocular surfaces

Dr. John Hovanesian

In a recent blog post, Dr. John Hovanesian of California said that sustained drug delivery systems targeting eye disease would be far more beneficial for not only compliance but for the ocular surface versus traditional eye drops.

In the post that appeared in Helio, which focuses on primary care optometry news, Hovanesian said the eye drops prescribed to his patients “are very often different” than what they get from the pharmacy filling out the prescription. Motivated by higher profit margins by using generic drugs, the switch to the alternative by a pharmacist isn’t always good for eye health.

“Preservatives and other inactive ingredients in generic drugs have been shown in a number of studies to deliver variable toxicity to the ocular surface,” he wrote. “This is most notable in chronic glaucoma therapy, in which generic prostaglandins and their preservatives cause slow destruction of limbal stem cells. In the shorter-term therapy after cataract surgery, generic ocular surface toxicity can impair visual results for months after the procedure.”

Hovanesian, who specializes in cornea, external ocular disease and refractive and cataract surgery with Harvard Eye Associates in Laguna Hills, CA, and is an instructor at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute, prefers sustained-delivery devices, such as the Ocular Therapeutix ($OCUL) punctal depot device and the Icon Bioscience steroid depot. Both have been used in clinical trials in his practice.

“For the most part, placing them is a non-event for patients, taking a very brief time, and the patients love that they do not have to use drops,” he wrote. “After surgery, in general, the eyes look great, with the same control of inflammation you’d expect with topical therapy but none of the side effects.”

As the new ocular drug delivery systems are approved, “We will feel more confident that the patient is actually receiving the drug we choose, and the cost to the system will likely decrease rather than increase, as we will see fewer long- and short-term complications that result from patient compliance and ocular surface toxicity.”

- here’s the blog

Related Articles:
Valeant, Ocular Therapeutix get CRLs tied to manufacturing 
Icon begins pivotal late-stage trial of sustained-release postsurgery cataract treatment