Treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis with polyhexamethylene biguanide

Ophthalmology. 1992 Feb;99(2):185-91. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(92)31994-3.


Polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) is a polymeric biguanide disinfectant that has not previously been used in the treatment of infection. Six patients with confirmed Acanthamoeba keratitis were treated with PHMB 0.02%. All patients had uncontrolled keratitis refractory to therapy with multiple conventional antiamebic agents. The rationale for use and the dose of PHMB was determined by in vitro sensitivity testing of the Acanthamoeba corneal isolates to the drugs available for use. Trophozoite forms were sensitive to most agents. Only PHMB was cysticidal at low concentrations in all cases. Sensitivity to the other drugs, including propamidine, showed wide variation. In 5 of 6 cases, complete resolution of inflammation followed the introduction of PHMB. Toxicity to the ocular surface was not evident with PHMB, unlike propamidine or neomycin. The reasons for the treatment failure in one case, despite cyst sensitivity to both PHMB and propamidine, are not clear. PHMB is a promising new treatment for this infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba / isolation & purification
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / drug therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biguanides / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Biguanides
  • polihexanide