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DRUG MAY HELP GLAUCOMA PATIENTS DELAY NEED FOR SURGERY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA OPHTHALMOLOGIST SAYS

 TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A drug approved this month by the Food and Drug Administration to treat chronic glaucoma may help delay surgery for patients with advanced cases of the sight-threatening disease, a University of South Florida ophthalmologist said.
 A more potent form of the drug Iopidine has been available for several years and is typically administered before and immediately following laser surgery for glaucoma, said Robert Urban, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology who specializes in glaucoma.
 Iopidine, administered in drop form, has proven very effective in reducing high levels of intraocular pressure, or fluid buildup within the eye, with minimal side effects, Dr. Urban said.
 A refinement in the drug's concentration now allows the drug to be prescribed for long-term use by chronic glaucoma patients as well as for short-term use with laser surgery patients, Dr. Urban said.
 "Iopidine appears to be a very promising frontline drug for the treatment of glaucoma and an alternative for patients who can no longer tolerate other types of drops such as beta blockers, miotics or epinephrine," he said.
 In the Tampa Bay area, Iopidine costs about $35 to $38 for a 5- milliliter bottle of drops.
 In particular, Dr. Urban said, the drug may be an alternative for patients whose pre-existing heart conditions would rule out treatment with any of the first-choice beta blockers.
 Eye drops are the first line of treatment used to combat glaucoma, followed by oral medications and finally laser or traditional surgery if the condition continues to worsen.
 "Any additional medication that can effectively help delay surgery is welcome," Dr. Urban said, "because every time you perform surgery to alleviate glaucoma, the patient is at risk of losing the eye."
 Hemorrhage, infection, pain and reduced visual acuity are among the other potential complications of glaucoma surgery, he said.
 Glaucoma threatens the eyesight of two out every 100 adults over age 35 in the United States.
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: Anne DeLotto Baier of the University of South Florida, 813-974-3300/


CO: University of South Florida ST: Florida IN: HEA SU:

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Date:Oct 28, 1993
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