Ophthalmic drug design based on the metabolic activity of the eye: Soft drugs and chemical delivery systems

Nicholas Bodor, Peter Buchwald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Despite its apparent easy accessibility, the eye is, in fact, well protected against the absorption of foreign materials, including therapeutic agents, by the eyelids, by the tear-flow, and by the permeability barriers imposed by the cornea on one side and the blood-retinal barrier on the other. Most existing ophthalmic drugs were adapted from other therapeutic applications and were not specifically developed for the treatment of eye diseases; hence, they are not well suited to provide eye-specific effects without causing systemic side effects. A real breakthrough in the area of ophthalmic therapeutics can be achieved only by specifically designing new drugs for ophthalmic applications to incorporate the possibility of eye targeting into their chemical structure. Possibilities provided along these lines by designing chemical delivery systems (CDSs) and soft drugs within the framework of retrometabolic drug design are reviewed here. Both are general concept applicable in almost any therapeutic area. This review will concentrate on β-adrenergic agonists and anti-inflammatory corticosteroids, where clinical results obtained with new chemical entities, such as betaxoxime, adaprolol, loteprednol etabonate, and etiprednol dicloacetate, exist to support the advantages of such metabolism-focused, ophthalmic-specific drug design approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number79
JournalAAPS Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005


  • Beta-blockers
  • Corticosteroids
  • Eye-targeted delivery
  • Glaucoma
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Oxime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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