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Reference Desk August 2011

OPTIMMUNE(r) (0.2 % cyclosporine) Ophthalmic Ointment Now Available

    SUMMIT, N.J., July 27, 2011—Merck Animal Health is pleased to announce OPTIMMUNE® (0.2 % cyclosporine) Ophthalmic Ointment, the only FDA-approved treatment for canine Chronic Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) and Chronic Superficial Keratitis (CSK), is available again after being absent from the market for several months due to a change in production site. Now produced at a U.S. FDA-approved site[1] in Europe, OPTIMMUNE can be ordered through Merck Animal Health or its authorized distributors.
    OPTIMMUNE’s unique quality formulation restores lacrimal gland function to increase natural tear production in dogs with KCS, reducing inflammation and promoting conjunctival and corneal health. The ointment provides prolonged contact time and allows a lower dose concentration of cyclosporine to achieve therapeutic effect with reduced risk of systemic toxicity. Its sterile, preservative-free formulation provides up to 24 months of shelf life without refrigeration. 
    KCS is an inflammatory condition caused by decreased tear production that is often immune- mediated.  It can be misdiagnosed as infectious conjunctivitis. CSK (also known as Pannus) is an inflammation of the cornea. If not properly treated, KCS and CSK can result in blindness.
    Chronic and undiagnosed KCS has been shown to affect over 4.5 percent of the general dog population and over 8 percent of dogs in predisposed breeds.[2] Predisposed breeds in the U.S. include the American Cocker Spaniel, Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Samoyed, Shih Tzu, and West Highland White Terrier.[3]
    Dog owners are encouraged to ask their veterinarians about this condition. Fortunately, KCS diagnosis is relatively easy for veterinarians with the use of the Schirmer Tear Test which measures tear production.  If diagnosed, OPTIMMUNE can provide a management solution to KCS and its ill effects on the eye can be avoided, greatly improving quality of life for the affected dog.
    Veterinarians with questions about OPTIMMUNE should contact Merck Animal Health Customer Service Department at 1-800-521-5767.

    For ophthalmic use in dogs only. The safety of OPTIMMUNE® has not been determined in cases of preexisting viral or fungal ocular infections, nor in puppies, pregnant bitches, or dogs used for breeding. In clinical trials, ocular and periocular inflammatory reactions, transient hyperemia, epiphora, mild discomfort of the eye and mild alopecia were reported in a small number of treated dogs. See package insert for full prescribing information, including directions for use, precautions and adverse reactions.

    About Merck Animal Health
    Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.merck-animal-health.com.
    Legal Notes
    This press release contains information on veterinary products based on international registration dossiers and may refer to products that are either not available in your country or are marketed under a different trade name. In addition, the approved indications as well as safety and efficacy data for a specific product may be different depending on local regulations and approvals. For more information, read the product labeling that applies to your country or contact your local Merck Animal Health representative.

    Copyright © 2011, Intervet Inc., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.  All rights reserved.

    [1] NADA 141-052, Approved by FDA
    [2] Pierce V, Williams D. Determination of Schirmer Tear Test values in 1000 dogs. BSAVA abstract 2006.
    [3] Williams DL. Immunopathogenesis of keratoconjunctivitis sicca in the dog.  Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2008:38:251-68.

    Source: Merck Animal Health


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