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Glaucoma tablet developed with the participation of researchers from Lublin

11.09.2017 Health, Recommended

The first oral medication for glaucoma, a dangerous eye disease, has been glaucoma. The concept of a citicoline tablet, which inhibits the death of retinal cells, was born in Lublin. Research on its effectiveness has also been launched by researchers from Lublin.

Citicoline tablets are intended to support the standard glaucoma treatment and enhance its effects. They will be marketed in September by an American pharmaceutical company. They will also be available in Poland - said Prof. Robert Rejdak, head of the General Ophthalmology Clinic of the Medical University of Lublin.


"The idea of using citicoline orally in tablets in the treatment of glaucoma was conceived in Lublin. That is where both experimental and clinical research into its efficacy has been initiated" - emphasised Rejdak.


For the past 20 years Lublin ophthalmologists and pharmacists have been researching neuroprotection, a field of pharmacology that focuses on direct protection of nerve cells from degeneration. Similar research has been conducted by other centres in the world, but the studied substances often caused side effects that prevented them from being used.


Researchers from Lublin, in cooperation with the team of Prof. Pawel Grieb from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, decided to focus on citicoline.


"As a neuropharmacologist and ophthalmologist, looking at this substance, I have found that it is very suitable for the dynamics and nature of glaucoma. For the first time in the world, my team proposed using citicoline in the for of oral tablets in patients with glaucoma" - said Rejdak.


Citicoline was already known to neurologists. It has been used in intramuscular injections and intravenous infusions, in the treatment of stroke, in life-threatening conditions. It was not beneficial to patients in all cases. But it turned out to be effective when administered orally in glaucoma.


"Together with the team of Prof. Jerzy Toczołowski, Prof. Zbigniew Stelmasiak, Prof. Konrad Rejdak and Dr. Marek Kamiński we studied glaucoma patients treated with citicoline tablets, with various methods, especially electrophysiological tests. The project was then moved Tübingen, to the centre headed by Prof. Eberhart Zrenner, thaat had better conditions. That is where I investigated the core of the pharmacological activity of citicoline" - described Rejdak.


"Research has shown very high efficacy of citicoline as a means of protecting and above all inhibiting the death of retinal ganglion cells. Our findings have been confirmed by other independent research centres, including centres in Italy and Korea. Several papers on the subject have been published" - he added.


After the success of numerous studies, the pharmaceutical industry became interested in the medicinal substance. Rejdak was not involved in the commercialisation of the idea. The work on citicoline is part of my habilitation, so I consider it my scientific child. I am glad that the independent groups became interested in this. It is important to emphasize the contribution of the Lublin community, because it is a rare event in the field of ophthalmology that Polish researchers invent a therapy from scratch and conduct research" - he noted.


"I can only be happy that we have a medicinal product available to patients. From a business point of view it might be wiser to patent it, but I have always published all my research results to make them publicly available. If I had to do it again, I would not change anything" - Rejdak added.


Glaucoma is a dangerous eye disease, with about 70 million people worldwide suffering from it and 6 million blind because of it. In Poland, glaucoma affects about 200 thousand people, and 600 thousand are threatened. Glaucoma is slow, progressive, it takes years to develop. In early stages it is difficult to diagnose. It requires long-term treatment.


It is treated with direct--to-eye methods, drops, laser and surgical procedures aimed at lowering pressure inside the eyeball. Citicoline tablets are intended to support standard therapy and enhance its effects. Citicoline stabilizes the cell membranes of neurons, inhibiting their disintegration. It does not show toxicity or have side effects. "It is considered a nutraceutical, a substance between a drug and dietary supplement, it can be taken daily, for years. A tablet is easy to administer to the elderly, and those are usually glaucoma patients" - noted Rejdak.


"We will continue to investigate this substance. We will check whether it can be used in very early stages of glaucoma, where we only suspect it, before we start using drops, laser treatments or other procedures" - Rejdak added.


Zbigniew Kopeć (PAP)


kop/ zan/ kap/


tr. RL

Tags: glaucoma
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