To evaluate the effect of 4 weeks of treatment with azithromycin ophthalmic solution 1% on eyelid bacterial load, tear cytokines, and signs and symptoms of blepharitis.
Twenty-six subjects (mean age 64.2 years; 65% female; 100% white) with moderate to severe blepharitis received azithromycin ophthalmic solution 1% in the absence of warm compresses or eyelid scrubs for 28 days (twice a day on days 1 and 2 and once a day on days 3-28). Blepharitis signs and symptoms were evaluated at baseline (day 1) and compared with end of treatment (day 29) and 2 follow-up visits (2 and 4 weeks posttreatment). Tear collection and eyelid margin bacterial cultures were performed at baseline and end of treatment. Tear cytokines were measured by a multiplex immunobead assay.
Four-week azithromycin treatment demonstrated significant decreases from baseline in investigator-rated signs of meibomian gland plugging, eyelid margin redness, palpebral conjunctival redness, and ocular discharge (P ≤ 0.002) at day 29, which persisted 4 weeks posttreatment (P ≤ 0.006). Subject-reported symptoms of eyelid itching, foreign body sensation/sandiness/grittiness, ocular dryness, ocular burning/pain, and swollen/heavy eyelids also demonstrated significant improvement from baseline (P < 0.001 for all symptoms and time points, except P = 0.037 for ocular dryness at visit 4). Eyelid margin culture exhibited significant decreases in coagulase-negative staphylococci and Corynebacterium xerosis bacteria. Changes in tear cytokine concentrations were not observed. Twelve subjects experienced 19 adverse events, 15 of which were ocular and none of which were serious.
Azithromycin provided significant improvement in signs and symptoms of blepharitis after 4 weeks of treatment compared with baseline and persisted in the 4-week follow-up period.