Contact Lenses Loaded with Melatonin Analogs: A Promising Therapeutic Tool against Dry Eye Disease

J Clin Med. 2022 Jun 17;11(12):3483. doi: 10.3390/jcm11123483.


Melatonin analogs topically administered evoke a potent tear secretagogue effect in rabbits. This route of drug administration requires high drug concentration and frequent dosing due to its reduced ocular surface retention. Therefore, contact lenses (CLs) have emerged as an alternative drug-delivery system that prolongs drug retention in the cornea, improving its therapeutic performance. This study explores the in vitro ability of five commercially available hydrogel CLs to act as a delivery system for melatonin analogs and the in vivo secretagogue effect of melatonin analog-loaded CLs. We soaked CLs with melatonin or melatonin analog solutions (1 mM) for 12 h. Spectroscopic assays showed that IIK7-loaded CLs led to the inadequate delivery of this compound. Conventional hydrogel lenses loaded with agomelatine released more agomelatine than silicone ones (16-33% more). In contrast, the CLs of silicone materials are more effective as a delivery system of 5-MCA-NAT than CLs of conventional materials (24-29%). The adaptation of CLs loaded with agomelatine or 5-MCA-NAT in rabbits triggered a higher tear secretion than the corresponding eye drops (78% and 59% more, respectively). These data suggest that CLs preloaded with melatonin analogs could be an adequate strategy to combat aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease.

Keywords: 5-methoxycarbonylamino-N-cetyltryptamine; agomelatine; contact lenses; drug delivery; dry eye.

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