Cyclodextrins are oligosaccharides having outer hydrophilic surface and central hydrophobic cavity. These agents form inclusion complexes with poorly water-soluble drugs; hence they show an important implication for use in ophthalmics because of their applications in solubilising and stabilising the ocular drugs. Most of the drugs being used in ophthalmics were not tailor-made for the eye and considering the poor bioavailability of < 1% from the corneal surface, presentation of the drug in a soluble form and at high concentration is important. Provision of a high drug concentration at the corneal surface increases the percent drug permeation indicating the usefulness of cyclodextrins as penetration enhancers. A decrease in irritation potential of some drugs upon incorporation of cyclodextrins is also reported. Polymercyclodextrin multicomponent systems further extend the role of cyclodextrins in improving the solubility and bioavilability of ocular drugs. Large hydrophilic cyclodextrins like hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin and sulphobutylether-β- cyclodextrin are safe for the use in aqueous eye drop solutions especially since they do not cross the lipophilic cornea. Various aspects about the applications of cyclodextrins in ophthalmics, the formulation considerations and expected toxicity of cyclodextrins (especially if high concentration is used) is discussed in this review. Strategies like use of polymers to reduce the effective concentration of cyclodextrin required without compromising solubility are also included. Further the concept of incorporating the drug-cyclodextrin complexes into liposomes or niosomes for a better targeting of the drug at appropriate tissue destination is discussed as a possible future option.
Keywords: cyclodextrins, ophthalmics, applications, toxicological considerations, analysis of drug- cyclodextrin, complexes
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