Purpose: Postoperative subconjunctival 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) injections increase the success of filtration surgery in eyes with prior filtration failure or cataract removal and in eyes with secondary glaucoma. The authors evaluate the safety and benefit of adjunctive 5-FU in eyes undergoing initial trabeculectomy.
Methods: Patients with phakic, uncontrolled, open-angle glaucoma who were undergoing initial trabeculectomy were prospectively assigned to the 5-FU group on the first postoperative day. Patients in this group received five 5-mg injections during 2 weeks after surgery. Patients in the control group received no injections.
Results: Preoperative intraocular pressure (IOP) and number of antiglaucoma medications were similar in the 5-FU (n = 32) and control (n = 30) groups. Transient superficial punctate keratopathy was the only postoperative complication that occurred more frequently (P < 0.05) in the 5-FU (14 eyes) than in the control eyes (3 eyes). Patients were followed for a minimum of 1 year or until a study endpoint was reached: IOP of 21 mmHg or greater with maximum medical therapy (2 5-FU eyes and 8 control eyes; P < 0.03) or cataract removal after filtration (5 treated and 3 control eyes). At last follow-up (mean, > 20 months), IOP and the number of antiglaucoma medications were significantly lower (P < 0.02) in the 5-FU eyes (IOP, 12.0 +/- 1.3 mmHg; medications, 0.2 +/- 0.1) than in the control eyes (IOP, 16.8 +/- 1.3 mmHg; medications, 0.8 +/- 0.2). Intraocular pressure was 20 mmHg or lower in 94% of 5-FU eyes and in 73% of control eyes (P < 0.03) and 16 mmHg or lower in 84% of 5-FU eyes and in 57% of control eyes (P < 0.02).
Conclusions: Adjunctive 5-fluorouracil increases the rate of success, decreases the level of postoperative IOP, and reduces the need for postoperative antiglaucoma medication in eyes with open-angle glaucoma undergoing initial trabeculectomy.