Peer Reviewed Publication

Ocular Drug Distribution and Safety of a Noninvasive Ocular Drug Delivery System of Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate in Rabbit.

Papangkorn K(1), Higuchi JW(1), Brar B(1), Higuchi WI(1).


To determine the ocular toxicity, systemic exposure, and amounts of dexamethasone sodium phosphate (DSP) in ocular tissues after administration of DSP with the Visulex system (DSP-Visulex).


DSP-Visulex was applied onto healthy rabbit eyes. DSP concentrations (4%, 8%, 15%, and 25%) and treatment durations (5, 10, and 20 min) were evaluated for the amounts of DSP in the ocular tissues and in plasma after single administrations of DSP-Visulex. The drug in eye tissues and plasma was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography-UV/VIS and by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, respectively. The safety and tolerability were ascertained based on clinical observations and histopathological examinations from repeat weekly DSP-Visulex treatments (4%, 8%, 15%, and 25% for 20 min) for 12 weeks.


Significant amounts of DSP (ie, higher than 1 μg/g) were found in the anterior chamber, retina-choroid, cornea, vitreous, conjunctiva, and sclera after single applications of DSP-Visulex. The DSP concentrations in the ocular tissues and in plasma increased with increased DSP concentrations in the Visulex applicator and with increased application times. Systemic DSP was rapidly detected. The plasma half-life was 2-3 h. Cmax was 148 and 1,844 ng/mL, and the area under the plasma drug concentration versus time curve (AUC) was 418 and 3,779 ng · h/mL for the low dose (4% DSP-Visulex for 5 min) and the high dose (15% DSP-Visulex for 20 min), respectively. Ocular findings over 12 weeks were mostly conjunctival injection and eye discharge. These were transient and mild. Histopathological examinations indicated the eyes to be normal.


DSP can be administered safely and effectively into the rabbit eye with the Visulex system. Treatment duration and DSP concentration are important factors in achieving therapeutic levels. Repeat applications of DSP-Visulex are safe and well tolerated for weekly administrations over 4-12 weeks. DSP-Visulex has clinical potential for the noninvasive treatment of ocular diseases.

J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Feb 12. doi: 10.1089/jop.2017.0093. [Epub ahead of print]