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Glaucoma Survey: Half Unaware of Preservative-Free Beta-Blocker, Ophthalmologists Cite Benefits of Preservative-Free Medications on Ocular Comfort and Quality of Life
Date:4/6/2009

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In a recent survey of ophthalmologists across the nation, virtually all (97%) believe preservative-free glaucoma medications can enhance the ocular comfort of glaucoma patients, while 86% believe that preservative-free glaucoma medications can enhance patient quality of life. Nine out of ten (89%) feel there are not enough preservative-free glaucoma medications available, and nearly half (47%) do not know a preservative-free beta-blocker is available.

The survey respondents acknowledged problems that can be caused by the preservatives in glaucoma medications, including ocular surface disease such as dry eye, and the impact of preservatives on medication tolerance and patient compliance. Three-quarters (73%) report the presence of preservatives does impact their decision-making process for a glaucoma therapy.

"Clinicians believe that the long term use of glaucoma medications with preservatives has been associated with ocular surface disease," explained William Trattler, M.D., Director of Cornea at the Center of Excellence in Eyecare in Miami and the survey author. "Clearly, more preservative-free glaucoma medication options are needed."

Problems Associated with Medication Preservatives

Three-quarters of the ophthalmologists surveyed (70%) report the preservatives in glaucoma medications are a significant cause of the ocular surface disease they see in glaucoma patients. Most believe each of the following is related to the preservatives in glaucoma medications: ocular surface disease (83%), conjunctival inflammation (75%), allergic reactions (71%) and dry eye (67%). Most believe that the ocular surface problems exacerbated by preserved glaucoma medications are a major cause of medication intolerance (67%) and poor compliance (62%).

Six out of ten of the ophthalmologists (60%) would prefer to prescribe glaucoma medications with no preservatives at all for their glaucoma patients with ocular surface disease or dry eye syndrome, compared to glaucoma medications preserved with BAK (3%) or non-BAK preservatives (36%).

Preservative-Free Beta-blocker

Nearly half (47%) do not know a preservative-free beta-blockers is available. TIMOPTIC(R) (timolol maleate ophthalmic solution) in OCUDOSE(R) (sterile ophthalmic unit dose dispenser) is the only preservative-free medication for glaucoma available in the U.S. The TIMOPTIC product line was recently acquired by Aton Pharma, Inc., which provides the dry eye medication LACRISERT(R) (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert), a preservative-free, once-daily*, patient-administered prescription insert indicated for moderate to severe dry eye.

"A preservative-free beta blocker is a consideration for many glaucoma patients, especially for those who already have dry eye or are at increased risk for ocular surface disease, such as the elderly, those on oral medications associated with dry eye and patients with existing lid margin disease," continued Dr. Trattler. "The use of a preservative-free glaucoma medication such as TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE can help preserve the health of the ocular surface in glaucoma patients."

Survey Methodology

The survey, sponsored by Aton Pharma, was completed between March 24 and March 26, 2009. Ophthalmologists across the nation were invited via e-mail to enter the online survey, and those who treated 20 or more glaucoma patients per month were asked to complete the survey. A total of 124 completed the survey, including 36 glaucoma specialists and 40 cataract surgery specialists.

About TIMOPTIC(R) in OCUDOSE(R)

TIMOPTIC(R) (timolol maleate ophthalmic solution) in OCUDOSE(R) (sterile ophthalmic unit dose dispenser) is a preservative-free, non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agent indicated in the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. Preservative-free TIMOPTIC is provided in OCUDOSE, a clear low density polyethylene unit dose container, as a sterile, isotonic, buffered, aqueous solution of timolol maleate in two dosage strengths, 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent.

TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE is contraindicated in patients with bronchial asthma; a history of bronchial asthma; severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; sinus bradycardia; second or third degree atrioventricular block; overt cardiac failure; cardiogenic shock; or hypersensitivity to any component of this product. Because of the potential effects of beta-adrenergic blocking agents on blood pressure and pulse, these agents should be used with caution in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency. The same adverse reactions found with systemic administration of beta-adrenergic blocking agents may occur with topical ophthalmic administration.

About LACRISERT

LACRISERT is indicated in patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndromes, including keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Most adverse reactions with LACRISERT were mild and transient and included transient blurring of vision, ocular discomfort or irritation, matting or stickiness of eyelashes, photophobia, hypersensitivity, edema of the eyelids, and hyperemia. LACRISERT should not be used by patients who are hypersensitive to hydroxypropyl cellulose. If improperly placed, LACRISERT may result in corneal abrasion.

About Aton Pharma, Inc.

Aton Pharma, Inc., headquartered in Lawrenceville, NJ, is a global, diversified specialty pharmaceutical company providing essential treatments for under-treated diseases. Aton's mission is to improve patient outcomes and quality of life worldwide by enhancing and expanding access and availability of medically essential therapeutics. Aton's portfolio of ten products, with sales in over 30 countries, focuses on ophthalmic diseases, orphan conditions and acute care hospital products. For more information, see www.atonrx.com.

* Some patients may require the flexibility of twice-daily dosing for optimal results.


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SOURCE Aton Pharma, Inc.
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