What is the role of drug treatment for uveitis?

Updated: Jan 15, 2019
  • Author: Monalisa N Muchatuta , MD, MS; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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The goals of pharmacotherapy are to reduce pain and inflammation with cycloplegics and corticosteroids. Corticosteroid eye drops have been the standard of care for uveitis since the early 1950s. Although evidence to support their use is somewhat sparse, [3, 4] they are the only medications approved by the FDA to treat uveitis. Corticosteroids should be initiated only in conjunction with an ophthalmologist because uveitis is a diagnosis of exclusion, and adverse effects of steroids include increased intraocular pressure, cataract formation, steroid-induced glaucoma, [1] and an increased risk of herpes keratitis, which should be managed by a specialist.

Studies comparing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) eye drops to placebo and corticosteroids have not demonstrated benefit; their use as an alternative to corticosteroids is not supported by evidence. [3]

Potassium-sparing drugs are indicated when chronic steroid use is required to control inflammation. [1] Approximately half of patients with uveitis need more than corticosteroid treatment to prevent vision loss. [16]

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