The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of 2% rebamipide suspension in treatment of keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) in patients with Sjögren syndrome (SS) with or without punctal occlusions.
Thirty patients with SS, diagnosed based on the presence of autoantibodies and/or focus score >1 on lip biopsies, with corneal fluorescein staining scores (FSS) >3, and conjunctival lissamine green–staining scores (LSS) >3, were treated 4 times daily for 4 weeks with 2% rebamipide ocular suspension. Ocular examinations were performed before treatment and 2 and 4 weeks after treatment to evaluate FSS (0–9), LSS (0–6), and tear film break-up time (BUT). Hyaluronate and/or artificial tears were not discontinued. The patients were interviewed regarding the 5 major KCS symptoms, foreign body sensation, dry eye sensation, photophobia, ocular pain, and blurred vision, with each graded from none (0) to very severe (4).
Of the 30 patients, 3 failed to attend all sessions, leaving 27 (25 females, 2 males, mean age 62.5 ± 10.8 years) to be studied. FSS and LSS showed improvement at week 2, but BUT showed improvement later, at week 4. All 5 symptoms improved significantly. When the patients were divided into 3 groups according to the presence of punctal occlusions, FSS and LSS were found to improve in all groups, but BUT improved only in patients with both puncta occluded at week 4.
Rebamipide ophthalmic suspension was effective in treating KCS of patients with SS, probably by increasing mucins and suppressing inflammatory cytokines. Punctal occlusions resulted in sufficient retention of tear fluid to enhance the activities of rebamipide and improve BUT.