Purpose: To compare aqueous levels of fluocinolone acetonide (FAc) after administration of FAc inserts or FAc implants (Retisert; Bausch & Lomb, Rochester, NY). Design: Comparison of pharmacokinetics from 2 prospective, interventional, clinical trials. Participants: Thirty-seven patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) (Fluocinolone Acetonide in Human Aqueous [FAMOUS] Study, C-01-06-002) and 7 patients with uveitis (NA-00019318). Methods: Aqueous FAc was measured after administration of FAc implants or 0.2 μg/day (low dose, ILUVIEN; Alimera Sciences Inc., Alpharetta, GA) or 0.5 μg/day (high dose) FAc inserts. Main Outcome Measures: The primary end point was aqueous levels of FAc. Results: At 1 month after administration for subjects who received 1 treatment, mean aqueous FAc levels were 2.17 (low dose) and 3.03 ng/ml (high dose) for FAc inserts and 6.12 ng/ml for FAc implants with maximum levels of 3.83, 6.66, and 13.50 ng/ml, respectively. At 3 months, mean FAc levels were 1.76, 2.15, and 6.12 ng/ml, respectively. Between 6 and 36 months after low-dose inserts, aqueous levels of FAc were remarkably stable, ranging from 1.18 to 0.45 ng/ml. After high-dose inserts, mean FAc levels were stable between 6 and 24 months, ranging from 1.50 to 0.84 ng/ml and then decreasing to 0.35 ng/ml at 30 months and 0.15 ng/ml at 36 months. In implant-containing eyes, mean FAc levels remained >6 ng/ml through 15 months, the last time point with measurements from at least 6 eyes. Conclusions: Low- and high-dose FAc inserts both provide stable long-term release of FAc with comparable peak levels in the aqueous: slightly >2 ng/ml for approximately 3 months followed by steady-state levels between 1.0 and 0.5 ng/ml through 36 months for low-dose inserts versus levels between 1.5 and 1.1 ng/ml through 24 months for high-dose inserts. Steady-state aqueous levels after FAc implants were >6 ng/ml. These results provide new insights that aid in the interpretation of efficacy trials and indicate that there is a dose effect for steroid-induced ocular hypertension. In susceptible patients, prolonged aqueous levels of FAc >1 ng/ml moderately increased the risk of glaucoma and levels >6 ng/ml posed a markedly increase risk. Financial Disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.
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