Purpose To evaluate the therapeutic effect of topical unoprostone isopropyl (unoprostone) on patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Methods Forty patients with typical forms of RP were included in the study. Seventeen of 40 patients were treated with 0.12% topical unoprostone twice daily in a randomly selected eye. Patients underwent follow-up examinations every 3 months after treatment. The efficacy of the treatment was monitored by visual acuity and visual field measurement testing using the Humphrey Field Analyzer (HFA: the central 10-2 programme). Moreover, 12 RP patients who were included this study and 12 normal subjects were evaluated in terms of their macular blood flow of both eyes after instillation of unoprostone using the laser speckle method. Results One year after treatment, the 'macular sensitivity', calculated by HFA as the average sensitivity of the central 12 points, was preserved in the fellow eyes as well as the unoprostone-treated eyes. On the other hand, that in the eyes of the control RP patient was significantly decreased. Moreover, there were significantly greater improvements of the 'macular sensitivity' in the unoprostone-treated eyes than the fellow eyes. The change ratios of macular blood flow obtained from both RP patients and normal subjects were significantly increased in both the treated and the fellow eyes. No severe side-effects were observed. Conclusions These results demonstrate that topical unoprostone might have a therapeutic efficacy in patients with RP as a consequence of the macular blood flow improvement as well as its direct neuroprotective effect.
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