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Toxin-free eye drop 'could be a sight saver'

Submitted by Agnes on Mon, 10/05/2009 - 8:55pm

Tafluprost (trade names Taflotan and Saflutan) is a prostaglandin analogue used topically (as eye drops) to control the progression of glaucoma and in the management of ocular hypertension. It reduces intraocular pressure by increasing the outflow of aqueous fluid from the eyes.

Other prostaglandin analogues for glaucoma management include Xalatan (latanoprost), Travatan (travoprost), Lumigan (bimatoprost) and Travatan-Z, which is a preservative-free version of Travatan.

The articles below are marketing pieces for the preservative-free version of tafluprost (trade names Taflotan and Saflutan).

By John von Radowitz

A NEW eye drop treatment could help preserve the sight of thousands at risk of going blind, it is claimed today.
The glaucoma drops are the first of their kind that avoid unpleasant side-effects which can put patients off.

It is estimated that a third of people with glaucoma risk sight loss because they stop complying with their treatment.

People in the UK suffer the condition, which causes gradual loss of vision due to damage to the optic nerve.

Glaucoma is most commonly treated with eye drops that reduce fluid pressure in the eye.

But until now the treatments have contained a detergent preservative that can cause side-effects in some patients, including burning, itching, tears, or a "dry eye" sensation.

Many patients simply refuse to apply the drops because of the discomfort, thereby putting themselves at risk of vision loss.

Regular use of the eye drops can keep the condition under control for a patient's life time. Without them, a patient can go blind in five to ten years.

When the disease becomes too advanced the only remedy is surgery, which is risky and may itself result in blindness.

The new treatment, taflu-prost, contains none of the detergents that prompt adverse reactions and is more "patient friendly" than its predecessors.

Marketed as Saflutan, it is available in the UK from today and licensed for the reduction of elevated fluid pressure in the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP).

Keith Martin, consultant ophthalmologist and glaucoma expert at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, said: "Today, for the first time, people in the UK will have access to a toxin-free sight-saving treatment that is powerful, well-tolerated and does not cause damage to the eye."

Merck Launches SAFLUTAN® (tafluprost) in International Market

  • Press Release
  • Source: Merck & Co., Inc.
  • On Thursday September 3, 2009, 4:00 am EDT

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck & Co., Inc. has launched SAFLUTAN® (tafluprost) in the United Kingdom and Spain, and additional launches in other countries are expected over the next several months, pending regulatory approvals, the Company said today. SAFLUTAN is a preservative free, synthetic analogue of the prostaglandin F for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in appropriate patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. SAFLUTAN is in Phase III in the U.S.


On April 15, 2009, Merck & Co., Inc. and Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. announced a worldwide licensing agreement for tafluprost. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck agreed to pay an undisclosed fee as well as milestones and royalty payments based on future sales of tafluprost (both preserved and preservative-free formulations) in exchange for exclusive commercial rights to tafluprost in Western Europe (excluding Germany), North America, South America and Africa. Santen will retain commercial rights to tafluprost in most countries in Eastern Europe, northern Europe and in countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Japan. Merck will provide promotion support to Santen in Germany and Poland. If tafluprost is approved in the U.S., Santen will have the option to co-promote it there.

“Merck is pleased that we are now able to begin supplying SAFLUTAN in approved markets to continue Merck's long standing commitment to ophthalmology and the patients who suffer from ophthalmic diseases worldwide," said Dr. Vlad Hogenhuis, Senior Vice President of Neuroscience and Ophthalmics, Merck & Co., Inc.

Glaucoma consists of a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and can be associated with elevated intraocular pressure.1 Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma.

SAFLUTAN® is a registered trademark of Merck & Co., Inc.


Merck & Co., Inc.
Pam Eisele, +1-908-423-5042
Eva Boratto, +1-908-423-5185
Carol Ferguson, +1-908-423-4465

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