Medications May Be Less Effective Outside Clinical Trials for Glaucoma Patients

Published Online: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Although clinical trials have indicated that intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering medications are effective in patients with open-angle glaucoma, new research suggests that the medications may not be as effective in real-world settings.

The study, published in the April 2014 issue of JAMA Ophthalmology, assessed the effectiveness of IOP-lowering medications in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma who were taking up to 3 medications from multiple ophthalmology clinics. IOP was measured while patients were using their usual medication to lower IOP. Patients then washed out all IOP-lowering drops, and pressure was measured again 2 to 4 weeks later.

The results indicated that discontinuation of IOP-lowering medications was associated with a significant increase in IOP. After medication washout, pressure increased on average by 5.4 mm Hg among patients taking 1 medication, 6.9 mm Hg among those using 2 medications, and 9 mm Hg for those using 3 medications.

However, a substantial proportion of patients only experienced small changes in IOP after medication washout. After medication discontinuation, IOP increased by <25% among 38% of patients using 1 medication, 21% of those taking 2 medications, and 13% of those using 3 medications.

The results suggest “either that [patients] were not using the medication effectively or that the medication itself, although used properly, was not lowering the IOP,” the study authors conclude.

Latest Articles
Beverly Schaefer, RPh, of Katterman's Sand Point Pharmacy in Seattle, Washington, shares some fun tips on how to encourage patients who travel to come to your pharmacy for supplies.
Donnie Calhoun, RPh, PD, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Foundation vice president, discusses how pharmacists can prepare themselves and their business before, during, and after a disaster.
Ken Whittemore Jr, Surescript's senior vice president of professional and regulatory affairs, talks about some new transactions available that can help pharmacists.
In case you got caught up in the Thanksgiving holiday rush, here are the top trending stories you may have missed in November:
Latest Issues