Study of Medical Treatment of Low-Pressure (Normal Tension) Glaucoma
Low-pressure (normal tension) glaucoma is a type of open-angle glaucoma resulting in damage to the optic nerve and abnormalities of the visual field. Eye (intraocular) pressure in this type of glaucoma is not higher than that usually considered to be normal (less than 21 mmHg) for the eye. The present treatment of low-pressure glaucoma is also directed to lowering the “normal” eye pressure. Both medications in this study, brimonidine and timolol, lower eye pressure.
Laboratory research over the past decade indicates the potential to treat glaucoma not only by lowering eye pressure, but with treatments aimed at the damage occurring at the optic nerve. One group of drugs, selective alpha2-adrenergic agonists, have been shown in laboratory animals to protect against the effects of nerve damage following local stroke. Brimonidine, one of the medications in the current study, is a selective alpha2-adrenergic agonist which protects against damage to optic nerve in animal models of glaucoma..
The hypothesis of the present study is that brimonidine eye drops provide protection to the damaged optic nerve independent of lowering eye pressure in patients with low-pressure glaucoma. This will be determined by (1) measuring eye pressure, (2) performing visual field examinations, and (3) examination of the optic nerve.
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Primary Purpose: Treatment
|Official Title:||A Multicenter, Double-Masked, 2-Arm Parallel Group Study Comparing the Effect of Brimonidine 0.2% Versus Timolol 0.5% on Visual Field Stability in Patients With Low-Pressure Glaucoma|
- To compare changes in automated static visual field decibel values at 4 month intervals over 4 years of monotherapy with either brimonidine or timolol eye drops.
- To characterize the intraocular pressure throughout the study period.
- To characterize optic disc changes (e.g., cupping and disc hemorrhages) over the 4 years of treatment with brimonidine or timolol.
- To follow the safety parameters throughout the study period.
- To determine risk factors for visual field progression in low-pressure glaucoma
|Study Start Date:||December 1998|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||May 2004|
The term glaucoma describes a specific pattern of optic nerve head and visual field damage caused by a number of different diseases of the eye, most (but not all) of which are associated with an elevated eye pressure. Glaucoma is currently considered to be a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Low-pressure glaucoma (LPG) is a type of open-angle glaucoma (OAG) with progressive visual field and optic nerve damage despite an untreated eye pressure in the statistically normal (mean 15.9, SD 2.9 mmHg) range, usually less than 21 mmHg. Therefore, in this condition, pressure-independent mechanisms (e.g., vascular or structural defects of the optic nerve) may be the main, if not the sole, cause of the optic neuropathy. LPG represents 6.7% to 68.3% of all OAGs.
Current glaucoma treatment is directed to lowering eye pressure using medical therapy (eye drops), laser treatment, and/or surgery, to a level that stops progressive optic nerve damage. The efficacy of lowering eye pressure in LPG has been reported. Both protocol medical treatments, brimonidine and timolol, show similar efficacy to lower eye pressure.
Laboratory research over the past decade indicates the potential to manage glaucoma not only by lowering eye pressure, but with treatment modalities aimed at the damage occurring at the optic nerve. Possible therapies may include agents effective as neuronal protectants to increase or prolong the survival rate of injured retinal ganglion cells. Treatments could also be directed to the rescue of nerve fibers from secondary degeneration, as stimulants to expand dendritic fields, and to promote nerve regeneration or neural transplantation.
Selective α2-adrenergic agonists have been shown to have a neuroprotective effect in animal models of focal cerebral ischemia. Brimonidine is reported to protect the optic nerve and retinal ganglion cells from secondary degeneration following a partial crush lesion to the adult rat optic nerve. One molecular mechanism for this neuroprotection may relate to up-regulation of neuronal survival factors. In rats, systemic α2-adrenergic agonists induce basic fibroblast growth factor mRNA in the retina. Treatment with α2-agonists before and during constant light exposure reduces retinal photoreceptor degeneration in albino rats. Animal studies demonstrate that topical administration of brimonidine results in pharmacologic concentrations of drug in the vitreous (100-170 nM). Therefore, ocular dosing with brimonidine provides a route for drug delivery to the retina in amounts sufficient to bind and activate the α2-adrenoceptor and provide a neuroprotective effect.
The study hypothesis is to evaluate the ability of topical treatment with 0.2% brimonidine, a highly selective α2-adrenergic agonist, to impart neuroprotection to the damaged optic nerve in patients with LPG. Comparison is made to 0.5% timolol, a nonselective β-adrenergic antagonist, without reported neuroprotective properties. Patients will be randomly assigned to twice daily double-masked treatment with one of these drugs. Neuroprotection will be assessed by evaluation of automated static visual fields performed at 4 month intervals for 4 years of treatment.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00317577
|United States, Arkansas|
|Little Rock Eye Clinic|
|Little Rock, Arkansas, United States, 72205|
|United States, Florida|
|University of Florida|
|Gainesville, Florida, United States, 32610|
|Bascom Palmer Eye Institute|
|Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, United States, 33418|
|United States, Illinois|
|University Eye Specialists|
|Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611|
|University of Chicago|
|Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60637|
|Wheaton Eye Clinic|
|Wheaton, Illinois, United States, 60187|
|United States, Indiana|
|Indianapolis, Indiana, United States, 46202|
|United States, New York|
|New York Eye & Ear Infirmary|
|New York, New York, United States, 10003|
|United States, Pennsylvania|
|Scheie Eye Institute University of Pennsylvania|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104|
|Wills Eye Hospital|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19107|
|United States, South Dakota|
|Black Hills Regional Eye Institute|
|Rapid City, South Dakota, United States, 57701|
|United States, Texas|
|Cullen Eye Institute Baylor University|
|Houston, Texas, United States, 77030|
|Study Chair:||Theodore Krupin, M.D.||Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University|