Oral Azithromycin Equivalent to 6 Weeks Doxycycline for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

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Equivalence seen in total meibomian gland dysfunction score and Ocular Surface Disease Index score; no more adverse effects seen in azithromycin group.

HealthDay News — Three weeks of oral azithromycin seems to be equivalent to 6 weeks of doxycycline for treatment of severe meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), according to a study published online March 23 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Phit Upaphong, MD, from Chiang Mai University in Thailand, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving patients with moderate-to-severe MGD who were randomly assigned to receive oral azithromycin (1g once per week for 3 weeks) or oral doxycycline (200mg daily for 6 weeks). Overall, 137 eyes from 137 patients were randomly assigned to the azithromycin and doxycycline groups (68 and 69 eyes, respectively).

The researchers found that the adjusted mean between-group difference of total MGD scores was −0.33 and 0.13 at weeks 6 and 8, respectively. At 6 and 8 weeks, the adjusted mean between-group difference in Ocular Surface Disease Index score was −1.20 and −1.59, respectively. Patients treated with azithromycin had fewer gastrointestinal adverse effects (4.4 vs 15.9%).

“The reduced dosing of azithromycin supports its use as an alternative to doxycycline for at least six weeks,” the authors write. “However, longer-term follow-up in each group would be needed to determine if these outcomes persist for this chronic condition.”

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