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Acta Ophthalmol. 2012 Nov;90(7):603-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-3768.2011.02299.x. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Topical drug delivery to the eye: dorzolamide.

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.


Topically applied carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) in eye drop solutions are commonly used to treat glaucoma. However, local eye irritation and multiple daily administrations may hamper their clinical usefulness. Aqueous eye drop formulations that improve their topical bioavailability and reduce their eye irritation can improve their clinical efficacy. Earlier studies showed that dorzolamide and closely related CAIs are more effectively delivered into the eye from acidic eye drop solutions than from comparable neutral solutions. Consequently, dorzolamide was marketed as an aqueous pH 5.6 eye drop solution (Trusopt(®) , Merck). Later, it was shown that increasing the pH of the eye drops from pH 5.6 to physiologic pH significantly reduced their local irritation. Earlier attempts to use cyclodextrins (CDs) as ocular penetration enhancers in dorzolamide eye drop solutions failed since; although the CDs were able to enhance the aqueous solubility of dorzolamide, increasing the pH from 5.6 to physiologic pH reduced the ability of the drug to permeate into the eye. Later, it was discovered that formulating the drug as aqueous dorzolamide/γCD eye drop microparticle suspension resulted in significant bioavailability enhancement. The solid dorzolamide/γCD microparticles are mucoadhesive and release dorzolamide into the aqueous tear fluid for extended time period. Consequently, sustained high dorzolamide concentrations in aqueous humour and various eye tissues were observed after single administration of the aqueous dorzolamide/γCD eye drop microsuspension. The microsuspension has a potential of being developed into a once-a-day eye drop product. This article reviews the physicochemical properties of dorzolamide, its permeation characteristics and topical bioavailability.

© 2012 The Authors. Acta Ophthalmologica © 2012 Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica Foundation.

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