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In vivo characterisation of a novel water-soluble Cyclosporine A prodrug for the treatment of dry eye disease.

European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2011.11.017
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical/Methods
  • Cyclosporine/Chemistry
  • Cyclosporine/Pharmacokinetics
  • Dry Eye Syndromes/Drug Therapy
  • Dry Eye Syndromes/Metabolism
  • Emulsions/Chemistry
  • Emulsions/Pharmacokinetics
  • Eye/Drug Effects
  • Eye/Metabolism
  • Female
  • Kinetics
  • Ophthalmic Solutions/Chemistry
  • Prodrugs/Chemistry
  • Prodrugs/Pharmacokinetics
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats
  • Inbred Lew
  • Solubility
  • Tears/Drug Effects
  • Water/Chemistry
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Cyclosporine A (CsA) has been demonstrated to be effective for the treatment of a variety of ophthalmological conditions, including ocular surface disorders such as the dry eye disease (DED). Since CsA is characterised by its low water solubility, the development of a topical ophthalmic formulation represents an interesting pharmaceutical question. In the present study, two different strategies to address this challenge were studied and compared: (i) a water-soluble CsA prodrug formulated within an aqueous solution and (ii) a CsA oil-in-water emulsion (Restasis, Allergan Inc., Irvine, CA). First, the prodrug formulation was shown to have an excellent ocular tolerance as well as no influence on the basal tear production; maintaining the ocular surface properties remained unchanged. Then, in order to allow in vivo investigations, a specific analytical method based on ultra high pressure liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (UHPLC-MS/MS) was developed and optimised to quantify CsA in ocular tissues and fluids. The CsA ocular kinetics in lachrymal fluid for both formulations were found to be similar between 15 min and 48 h. The CsA ocular distribution study evidenced the ability of the prodrug formulation to penetrate into the eye, achieving therapeutically active CsA levels in tissues of both the anterior and posterior segments. In addition, the detailed analysis of the in vivo data using a bicompartmental model pointed out a higher bioavailability and lower elimination rate for CsA when it is generated from the prodrug than after direct application as an emulsion. The interesting in vivo properties displayed by the prodrug solution make it a safe and suitable option for the treatment of DED.

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