Blind World Magazine

Preservative-Free Glaucoma Treatment Now Available in Canada.

November 03, 2005.
Doctor's Guide, Online.

MONTREAL, CANADA -- November 3, 2005 -- Canadians suffering from glaucoma and their treating physicians can now turn to a new preservative-free treatment when indicated.

Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. has received regulatory approval for Cosopt® (dorzolamide hydrochloride/timolol maleate) in a preservative free-unit dose. The new product formulation will be available by prescription from the beginning of November.

Preservative-free dorzolamide hydrochloride/timolol maleate answers an important medical need. All other glaucoma treatments currently approved in Canada contain one of three different preservatives. The most common preservative in glaucoma treatments, benzalkonium or BAK, has been associated with allergic reactions and side effects such as irritation and inflammation of the eyes in some patients.1

It is estimated that as many as six per cent of glaucoma patients are allergic to BAK.1 Currently, the only other preservative-free medication is Timoptol UD. However, it is only accessible in Canada through Health Canada's Special Access Program.

Dorzolamide hydrochloride/timolol maleate is indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension or glaucoma. Dorzolamide hydrochloride/timolol maleate contains two active ingredients that have been demonstrated to reduce pressure inside the eye caused by open angle glaucoma or other eye diseases such as ocular hypertension. It works by decreasing the amount of fluid within the eye. Lowering high pressure inside the eye helps to prevent blindness.2

"The introduction of Cosopt® in a preservative-free format provides a much needed alternative for glaucoma patients. Up until now, in preservative-sensitive cases, the only other approved options were laser therapy or surgery," said Dr. Shawn Cohen, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at McGill University. "This new option may allow us to defer or even avoid laser or surgery in preservative-sensitive cases."

Dorzolamide hydrochloride/timolol maleate preservative-free unit dose will be packaged in cartons of 60 unit doses and each unit dose will contain 0.2ml.

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