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Toxicologic and pharmacokinetic analysis of intravitreal injections of foscarnet, either alone or in combination with ganciclovir

, : Toxicologic and pharmacokinetic analysis of intravitreal injections of foscarnet, either alone or in combination with ganciclovir. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 35(3): 1038-1045

Purpose. The retinal toxicity of single and repeated intravitreal injections of foscarnet was investigated. In addition, the effects of a combination of foscarnet and ganciclovir were studied, and a pharmacokinetic study to determine the ocular pharmacokinetics of foscarnet after intravitreal injection was carried out. Methods. Forty rabbits (both albino and pigmented) were used in this study. The electroretinographic (ERG) a-waves and b-waves and oscillatory potentials (OP) were used as an indicators of retinal toxicity. Potential toxicity was also assessed by ophthalmoscopy and histologic studies (light and electron microscopy). Results. The a-wave and b-wave were not deteriorated with 2.4 mg foscarnet after single or repeated injections. The OP remained unchanged. There was no ERG change after intravitreal injection of a combination of both drugs. No evidence of retinal toxicity was observed by indirect ophthalmoscopy in any case. Light and electron microscopy on semithin sections of retina failed to demonstrate any adverse effects, and showed normal organization and cytoarchitecture of all the layers of the retina without evidence of cytopathology. The ocular pharmacokinetics of foscarnet determined by noncompartmental analysis showed a 34-hour terminal elimination half-life and an apparent volume of distribution of 1.9 ml. Conclusions. Based on these results, high doses of foscarnet were not judged toxic to the rabbit retina, with single or repeated injections. Moreover, concomitant injection of the two drugs did not induce any retinal toxicity. These findings suggest that when systemic treatment is to be stopped in patients with AIDS for toxic side effects, either ganciclovir or foscamet may be used intravitreally as an alternative. Because a combination of the two drugs has been shown to be synergistic, both ganciclovir and foscarnet might be simultaneously injected into the vitreous cavity to block progression of cytomegalovirus retinitis.


PMID: 8125715

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