Uptake and release of ciprofloxacin-HCl from conventional and silicone hydrogel contact lens materials

Eye Contact Lens. 2008 Sep;34(5):266-71. doi: 10.1097/ICL.0b013e3181812ba2.


Objectives: To investigate the uptake and release characteristics of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin-HCl in conventional and silicone hydrogel lenses, and evaluate their potential as therapeutic drug delivery devices.

Methods: Nine differing soft contact lens materials were soaked in a 0.3% ciprofloxacin-HCl solution at 34 degrees C. The uptake of the drug into the lenses was measured by the change in concentration over 24 hours using fluorescence spectrophotometry. The lenses were then placed in a buffered saline solution, and the release of the drug from the lenses was also measured using spectrophotometry.

Results: The release of drug varied from 0.016 +/- 0.004 mg/lens for lotrafilcon A lenses to 0.42 +/- 0.03 mg/lens for etafilcon A lenses, with an average of 0.133 mg/lens. The 3 conventional lenses used in the study released a statistically significantly different amount of drug when compared with the silicone hydrogels. The release of drug was very rapid, with drug release reaching a plateau after no more than 10 minutes for the majority of the lenses. The majority of the lenses were able to release enough drug to achieve minimum inhibitory concentration 90 for most resistant ocular pathogens. Ciprofloxacin was found to heavily precipitate on the etafilcon A lenses during the release phase at physiologic pH.

Conclusion: While balafilcon A released the most drug from the silicone hydrogel materials, all materials released the drug too quickly to be effective as drug delivery devices.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Contact Lenses, Hydrophilic*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Methacrylates / chemistry*
  • Silicones / chemistry*
  • Spectrophotometry


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Hydrogels
  • Methacrylates
  • Silicones
  • balafilcon A
  • etafilcon
  • lotrafilcon A
  • Ciprofloxacin