Some of the views expressed in the following notes on newly approved products should be regarded as preliminary, as there may have been limited published data at the time of publication, and little experience in Australia of their safety or efficacy. However, the Editorial Executive Committee believes that comments made in good faith at an early stage may still be of value. Before new drugs are prescribed, the Committee believes it is important that more detailed information is obtained from the manufacturer's approved product information, a drug information centre or some other appropriate source.

Ocuflox (Allergan)
ophthalmic solution containing 3 mg/mL in 5 mL
Indication: bacterial conjunctivitis

Not all cases of conjunctivitis are due to bacteria. However, when a topical antibiotic is indicated, ofloxacin solution can be considered for severe cases. Ofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic similar to norfloxacin. The drug inhibits DNA gyrase which leads to the death of the organism. Ofloxacin has a broad spectrum of activity which includes the common pathogens.

The manufacturer recommends that one drop be used 4 hourly for 2 days and then one drop 6 hourly for up to 8 days. Long term use is not advised as a resistant infection may develop. Contact lenses should not be worn during treatment. The drug is not approved for use in children.

A small amount of ofloxacin is absorbed. Although there is a potential for systemic adverse reactions, more common problems are burning, stinging, itching and dry eyes. Although 10-14% of patients report adverse effects, under 2% of patients cease therapy because of these reactions.

It is not clear if ofloxacin has an advantage over established (and probably cheaper) treatments for bacterial conjunctivitis.