The potential of newer immunomodulating drugs in the treatment of uveitis: a review

BioDrugs : Clinical Immunotherapeutics, Biopharmaceuticals and Gene Therapy
J Salzmann, S L Lightman

Abstract

Uveitis, or intraocular inflammation, remains an ongoing challenge to ophthalmologists and patients alike. In most patients, uveitis is limited to the anterior ocular structures and is readily managed with topical steroids. The inflammatory process can extend behind the lens to involve the pars plana, the vitreous cavity, the choroid and the retina. These intermediate and posterior uveitides are relatively rare but contribute disproportionately to visual morbidity and present serious diagnostic and therapeutic difficulties. Systemic steroids constitute the first line of treatment for most sight-threatening uveitides. Their long term use is limited by universal and debilitating adverse effects. Second-line, steroid-sparing agents allow a reduction in steroid dosage. Cyclosporin and azathioprine are the main steroid-sparing agents currently in use. However, these compounds are limited by a narrow therapeutic window and significant adverse effects. This paper offers a brief discussion of some of the immune mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of uveitis and reviews categories of investigational compounds. Inhibitors of T cell function: tacrolimus (previously FK506), licensed for use in liver transplantation, and sirolimus (rapa...Continue Reading

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