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Antibiotic OTC in UK

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Nottingham-based Optrex is launching Optrex Infected Eyes Eye Drops, the first nonprescription antibiotic eye drop for the treatment of conjunctivitis, expected to appear on UK pharmacy shelves by the end of June. Britain's Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved chloramphenicol 0.5 % eye drops for the treatment of acute bacterial conjunctivitis in adults and children aged two and older for pharmacy sale June 8. MHRA says it has weighed safety and bacterial resistance risks and is "convinced that the potential health benefits outweigh any risks to patients or to the community at large." Boots Pharmacy also will offer a private-label equivalent, according to MHRA...

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"Healthy children with acute conjunctivitis do not need an ocular antibiotic at first presentation to primary care," Peter Rose, MD, Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, et al., find in a study published in The Lancet. The randomized, double-blind trial compared the effects of chloramphenicol eye drops to placebo in 326 children age 6 months to 12 years. Clinical cure of eye infection occurred by day seven in 83% of children in the placebo group and 86% of those treated with the antibiotic, the authors state. Rose et al. advise forgoing medical consultation unless the child's symptoms are "unusual" or persist for more than a week. The UK's Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved chloramphenicol 0.5% for pharmacy sale in June (1"The Tan Sheet" June 13, 2005, In Brief)...

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