Australian drug regulators have approved a new aqueous, immunosuppressant for the treatment of moderate-to-severe dry eye.
Cequa (ciclosporin 900 microgram/mL) is now the first Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)-approved immunosuppressant indicated to increase tear production in affected patients where prior use of artificial tears has not been sufficient.
The therapy, which is technically used to treat keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is locally distributed by global pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma, whose Australia and New Zealand business markets a portfolio of branded dermatology products and a range of oral and specialty generics.
The therapy works by reducing inflammation and increasing tear production to ensure the eyes are better lubricated, with one drop administered to the affected eye twice-daily – approximately 12 hours apart.
According to Associate Professor Colin Chan, a leading ophthalmologist from Vision Eye Institute in Sydney, dry eye affects 7.4% of the Australian population. The disease represents one of the most common reasons for seeking medical eyecare, with a quarter of patients who visit ophthalmic clinics reporting symptoms of dry eye.
“Furthermore, one in five patients with dry eye are dissatisfied with their overall treatment due to lack of symptom relief, the time taken to relieve symptoms, and treatment side-effects,” he said.
Studies have demonstrated that dry eye is a widespread and complex disease that can significantly compromise vision, quality of life and work-related productivity. Management of the disease is complicated due to its multifactorial aetiology.
Symptoms can include; discomfort, visual disturbance, burning, stinging, grittiness, foreign body sensation, tearing, ocular fatigue, redness, light sensitivity and dryness.
It is also reportedly becoming more common in younger patients due to a surge in digital screen time.
Exposure to air conditioning, ceiling fans and forced air heating systems in indoor environments can also lower humidity and exacerbate tear evaporation, causing dry eye symptoms.