Background: Tight control of intraocular pressure (IOP) is still the only therapeutic approach available for the treatment of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). However, some patients do not respond adequately to hypotonising drugs, and despite multiple drug combinations they cannot reach their target IOP. Forskolin is a natural compound that has already shown efficacy in IOP reduction following topical application.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects on the IOP of a food supplement containing forskolin and rutin when administered to POAG patients under maximum tolerated medical therapy (MTMT) and on a waiting list for filtrating surgery to further decrease their IOP.
Methods: The design of the study was open and case-controlled. Ninety-seven (52 in the treatment group, and 45 in the reference group) patients were enrolled in 8 different glaucoma centers in Italy, all under MTMT and with IOP enrollment values above their target pressure. During the 30 days before surgery, patients in the treatment group were prescribed 2 tablets per day of a food supplement containing rutin and forskolin in addition to their usual topical drug treatment. Their IOP values were measured at 3 time points during the day, at enrollment and once a week until surgery. Control patients continued only with their normal topical therapy.
Results: All patients in the treatment group, independently of the combination drug therapy that they were taking, showed a further 10% decrease (P<0.01) of their IOP, starting from 1 week after introduction of the oral supplement and lasting until the last evaluation before surgery. This decrease was more evident (15% of the enrollment value; P<0.01) in those subjects with high (IOP≥21 mmHg) enrollment values rather than in those with low (IOP<21) enrollment values (9%; P<0.01). On the contrary, IOP values in the control group remained stable from the beginning to the end of the observation period, independently of their enrollment values.
Conclusions: Forskolin and rutin given as oral treatment appear to contribute to a better control and a further small reduction of IOP in patients who were poorly responsive to multitherapy treatment.