Rho kinase inhibitors for treatment of glaucoma

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Affecting 60 million patients, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Despite the availability of multiple medical and surgical treatments with effective intraocular pressure lowering, many patients still progress to become visually handicapped from glaucoma due to therapeutic failure. There is therefore a great need for novel therapies to improve the standard of care, and Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitors represent a promising new class of drugs for treatment of glaucoma. ROCK inhibitors act by increasing facility of fluid outflow from the eye, thereby reducing intraocular pressure. ROCK inhibitors also have a vasodilatory effect on conjunctival vessels, which can lead to eye redness, a less than desirable cosmetic side effect for patients that would use this medication. Although there is promising data to support the clinical potential of this class of drug, the occurrence of conjunctival hyperemia remains a potential deterrent for use by patients. Studies are underway to assess alternative dosing strategies, delivery methods and prodrug formulations that may circumvent this unwanted side effect. This review provides an up-to-date account of the basic scientific data, as well as nonclinical and clinical studies to support use of ROCK inhibitors for treatment of glaucoma.

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