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Identifying new drugs and targets to treat rapidly elevated intraocular pressure for angle closure and secondary glaucomas to curb visual impairment.

A multitude of pharmacological compounds have been shown to lower and control intraocular pressure (IOP) in numerous species of animals and human subjects after topical ocular dosing or via other routes of administration. Most researchers have been interested in finding drug candidates that exhibit a relatively long duration of action from a chronic therapeutic use perspective, for example to treat ocular hypertension (OHT), primary open-angle glaucoma and even normotensive glaucoma. However, it is equally important to seek and characterize treatment modalities which offer a rapid onset of action to help provide fast relief from quickly rising IOP that occurs in certain eye diseases. These include acute angle-closure glaucoma, primary angle-closure glaucoma, uveitic and inflammatory glaucoma, medication-induced OHT, and other secondary glaucomas induced by eye injury or infection which can cause partial or complete loss of eyesight. Such fast-acting agents can delay or prevent the need for ocular surgery which is often used to lower the dangerously raised IOP. This research survey was therefore directed at identifying agents from the literature that demonstrated ocular hypotensive activity, normalizing and unifying the data, determining their onset of action and rank ordering them on the basis of rapidity of action starting within 30-60 min and lasting up to at least 3-4 hrs post topical ocular dosing in different animal species. This research revealed a few health authority-approved drugs and some investigational compounds that appear to meet the necessary criteria of fast onset of action coupled with significant efficacy to reduce elevated IOP (by ≥ 20%, preferably by >30%). However, translation of the novel animal-based findings to the human conditions remains to be demonstrated but represent viable targets, especially EP2 -receptor agonists (e.g. omidenepag isopropyl; AL-6598; butaprost), mixed activity serotonin/dopamine receptor agonists (e.g. cabergoline), rho kinase inhibitors (e.g. AMA0076, Y39983), CACNA2D1-gene product inhibitors (e.g. pregabalin), melatonin receptor agonists, and certain K+ -channel openers (e.g. nicorandil, pinacidil). Other drug candidates and targets were also identified and will be discussed.

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