Subconjunctival Delivery of Dorzolamide-Loaded Poly(ether-anhydride) Microparticles Produces Sustained Lowering of Intraocular Pressure in Rabbits

Topical medications that inhibit the enzyme carbonic anhydrase (CAI) are widely used to lower intraocular pressure in glaucoma; however, their clinical efficacy is limited by the requirement for multiple-daily dosing, as well as side effects such as blurred vision and discomfort on drop instillation. We developed a biodegradable polymer microparticle formulation of the CAI dorzolamide that produces sustained lowering of intraocular pressure after subconjunctival injection. Dorzolamide was ion paired with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and sodium oleate (SO) with 0.8% and 1.5% drug loading in poly­(lactic-<i>co</i>-glycolic acid) (PLGA), respectively. Encapsulating dorzolamide into poly­(ethylene glycol)-<i>co</i>-poly­(sebacic acid) (PEG<sub>3</sub>-PSA) microparticles in the presence of triethylamine (TEA) resulted in 14.9% drug loading and drug release that occurred over 12 days <i>in vitro</i>. Subconjunctival injection of dorzolamide-PEG<sub>3</sub>-PSA microparticles (DPP) in Dutch belted rabbits reduced IOP as much as 4.0 ± 1.5 mmHg compared to untreated fellow eyes for 35 days. IOP reduction after injection of DPP microparticles was significant when compared to baseline untreated IOPs (<i>P</i> < 0.001); however, injection of blank microparticles (PEG<sub>3</sub>-PSA) did not affect IOP (<i>P</i> = 0.9). Microparticle injection was associated with transient clinical vascularity and inflammatory cell infiltration in conjunctiva on histological examination. Fluorescently labeled PEG<sub>3</sub>-PSA microparticles were detected for at least 42 days after injection, indicating that <i>in vivo</i> particle degradation is several-fold longer than <i>in vitro</i> degradation. Subconjunctival DPP microparticle delivery is a promising new platform for sustained intraocular pressure lowering in glaucoma.