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Jun 05, 2014
 |  BC Innovations  |  Targets & Mechanisms

De-stressing glaucoma

Glucocorticoids are standard of care for a host of allergic and inflammatory eye conditions, but they elevate intraocular pressure about a third of the time and can result in secondary open-angle glaucoma. A chemical chaperone called sodium phenylbutyrate could eliminate that side effect, according to new research from The University of Iowa.1

The findings may hand a new indication to two companies-one Swedish, one Canadian-that market oral versions of phenylbutyrate (PBA) for other diseases.

Glaucomas develop when aqueous fluid that enters the eye via the ciliary body is not effectively drained through structures including the trabecular meshwork. This leads to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) and causes progressive degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and damage to the optic nerve. The ultimate result is visual field loss and blindness.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type and results from progressive increases in intraocular pressure that damage the optic nerve.2 Primary glaucoma typically is treated with latanoprost, a generic prostaglandin F receptor (PTGFR) agonist.

Other drugs to treat primary open-angle glaucoma include Allergan Inc.'s adrenergic receptor α2 (ADRA2) agonist Alphagan P brimonidine and Latisse bimatoprost, a prostaglandin F analog. Merck & Co. Inc. sells the adrenergic receptor b (ADRB) blocker Timoptic timolol.

There are no drugs specifically approved for secondary open-angle glaucoma including glucocorticoid-induced glaucoma. In addition, it is unclear why glucocorticoids cause the condition.

"The clinical standard for treating glucocorticoid-induced glaucoma is to either take patients...

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