Arthritis drug dampens dry eye

Previous research has shown that dry eye is associated with a significant overexpression of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin 1 (IL-1). Anakinra, an IL-1 receptor antagonist, effectively suppresses IL-1-mediated inflammation at the level of the ocular surface.In this randomised, double-masked study, the researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of topical anakinra in 75 individuals with dry-eye disease secondary to meibomian gland dysfunction. The subjects were randomised to receive TID administration of 2.5% anakinra, 5.0% anakinra or artificial tears for 12 weeks.The primary study outcomes included measurent of corneal fluorescein staining (CFS), complete bilateral CFS clearance, tear film break-up time, meibomian gland secretion quality and dry-eye-related symptoms – ocular grittiness, light sensitivity or blurred vision.After 12 weeks of dosing, subjects who used 2.5% anakinra were four times more likely to exhibit a bilateral reduction in CFS compared to those who received artificial tears. Further, the researchers found that those dosed with 2.5% anakinra experienced a six-fold decrease in dry-eye-related symptoms compared to subjects who used artificial tears.”We began looking at the possible therapeutic effects of IL-1 receptor agonists over 10 years ago in my laboratory,” senior author Dr Reza Dana, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, said.”But we have never seen results such as this before in a trial to treat dry-eye disease.We possibly have found a safe, well-tolerated eye drop that can treat the underlying cause of dry eye, rather than just tporarily mask the symptoms. The results clearly show us not only that we can possibly help the millions of people affected by dry-eye disease worldwide, but that biologics such as this have the potential to provide targeted therapies for other ocular ailments as well.”

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