OBJECTIVES: To analyse drug development for open-angle glaucoma during the last 20 years.
METHODS: Research was performed by referring to clinical trials registered at the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). A search for the condition "open-angle glaucoma" with the intervention "drug" was performed. We included trials registered from 01/01/1995 to 01/01/2015, only involving studies in phases 1, 2, and 3. Only studies resorting to novel treatment strategies (either novel drugs or yet-untested fixed associations of approved medication) were considered.
RESULTS: We recorded 158 studies for the condition of open-angle glaucoma with a drug-based intervention; 65 of the studies reported phase 2 trials and 74 reported phase 3 trials. Pharmaceutical companies were the primary sponsors of 95.3% of the trials. Most of the studies (66.5%, n = 105) involved a new drug, and the remainder (33.5%, n = 53) tested fixed drug associations. The bulk of the trials (n = 99, 62.7%) involved the use of prostaglandin analogues, either as a comparator or a study drug. In descending order of frequency, the studies conducted involved Rho-kinase inhibitors (n = 15), carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (n = 14), β-blockers (n = 7), angiostatic steroids (n = 6), α2-adrenergic agonists (n = 4), 5-HT2A receptor agonists (n = 4), and NMDA receptor antagonists (n = 2). A cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, an LIM-domain kinase 2 inhibitor, an A1 adenosine receptor agonist, catechin, macrolide, saffron, and seawater were each tested in 1 clinical trial.
CONCLUSION: Research into the medical treatment of glaucoma indicates the use of prostaglandin analogues. However, there are a significant number of trials testing other drug classes, particularly Rho-kinase inhibitors. This new focus could lead to a potential increase in the number of therapeutical options for the management of glaucoma in the future.