Mechanism of Action
COMBIGAN™ is comprised of two components: brimonidine tartrate and timolol. Each of these two components decreases elevated intraocular pressure, whether or not associated with glaucoma. Elevated intraocular pressure is a major risk factor in the pathogenesis of optic nerve damage and glaucomatous visual field loss. The higher the level of intraocular pressure, the greater the likelihood of glaucomatous field loss and optic nerve damage.
COMBIGAN™ is a selective alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist with a non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor inhibitor. Both brimonidine and timolol have a rapid onset of action, with peak ocular hypotensive effect seen at two hours post-dosing for brimonidine and one to two hours for timolol.
Fluorophotometric studies in animals and humans suggest that brimonidine tartrate has a dual mechanism of action by reducing aqueous humor production and increasing nonpressure dependent uveoscleral outflow.
Timolol maleate is a beta1 and beta2 adrenergic receptor inhibitor that does not have significant intrinsic sympathomimetic, direct myocardial depressant, or local anesthetic (membrane-stabilizing) activity.
Systemic absorption of brimonidine and timolol was assessed in healthy volunteers and patients following topical dosing with COMBIGAN™. Normal volunteers dosed with one drop of COMBIGAN™ twice daily in both eyes for seven days showed peak plasma brimonidine and timolol concentrations of 30 pg/mL and 400 pg/mL, respectively. Plasma concentrations of brimonidine peaked at 1 to 4 hours after ocular dosing. Peak plasma concentrations of timolol occurred approximately 1 to 3 hours post-dose.
In a crossover study of COMBIGAN™, brimonidine tartrate 0.2%, and timolol 0.5% administered twice daily for 7 days in healthy volunteers, the mean brimonidine area-under-the-plasma-concentration-time curve (AUC) for COMBIGAN™ was 128 ± 61 pg•hr/mL versus 141 ± 106 pg•hr/mL for the respective monotherapy treatments; mean Cmax values of brimonidine were comparable following COMBIGAN™ treatment versus monotherapy (32.7 ± 15.0 pg/mL versus 34.7 ± 22.6 pg/mL, respectively). Mean timolol AUC for COMBIGAN™ was similar to that of the respective monotherapy treatment (2919 ± 1679 pg•hr/mL versus 2909 ± 1231 pg•hr/mL, respectively); mean Cmax of timolol was approximately 20% lower following COMBIGAN™ treatment versus monotherapy.
In a parallel study in patients dosed twice daily with COMBIGAN™, twice daily with timolol 0.5%, or three times daily with brimonidine tartrate 0.2%, one-hour post dose plasma concentrations of timolol and brimonidine were approximately 30-40% lower with COMBIGAN™ than their respective monotherapy values. The lower plasma brimonidine concentrations with COMBIGAN™ appears to be due to twice-daily dosing for COMBIGAN™ versus three-times dosing with brimonidine tartrate 0.2%.
The protein binding of timolol is approximately 60%. The protein binding of brimonidine has not been studied.
In humans, brimonidine is extensively metabolized by the liver. Timolol is partially metabolized by the liver.
In the crossover study in healthy volunteers, the plasma concentration of brimonidine declined with a systemic half-life of approximately 3 hours. The apparent systemic half-life of timolol was about 7 hours after ocular administration.
Urinary excretion is the major route of elimination of brimonidine and its metabolites. Approximately 87% of an orally-administered radioactive dose of brimonidine was eliminated within 120 hours, with 74% found in the urine. Unchanged timolol and its metabolites are excreted by the kidney.
COMBIGAN™ has not been studied in patients with hepatic impairment.
COMBIGAN™ has not been studied in patients with renal impairment.
A study of patients with renal failure showed that timolol was not readily removed by dialysis. The effect of dialysis on brimonidine pharmacokinetics in patients with renal failure is not known.
Following oral administration of timolol maleate, the plasma half-life of timolol is essentially unchanged in patients with moderate renal insufficiency.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility
With brimonidine tartrate, no compound-related carcinogenic effects were observed in either mice or rats following a 21-month and 24-month study, respectively. In these studies, dietary administration of brimonidine tartrate at doses up to 2.5 mg/kg/day in mice and 1 mg/kg/day in rats achieved 150 and 210 times, respectively, the plasma Cmax drug concentration in humans treated with one drop COMBIGAN™ into both eyes twice daily, the recommended daily human dose.
In a two-year study of timolol maleate administered orally to rats, there was a statistically significant increase in the incidence of adrenal pheochromocytomas in male rats administered 300 mg/kg/day [approximately 25,000 times the maximum recommended human ocular dose of 0.012 mg/kg/day on a mg/kg basis (MRHOD)]. Similar differences were not observed in rats administered oral doses equivalent to approximately 8,300 times the daily dose of COMBIGAN™ in humans.
In a lifetime oral study of timolol maleate in mice, there were statistically significant increases in the incidence of benign and malignant pulmonary tumors, benign uterine polyps and mammary adenocarcinomas in female mice at 500 mg/kg/day, (approximately 42,000 times the MRHOD), but not at 5 or 50 mg/kg/day (approximately 420 to 4,200 times higher, respectively, than the MRHOD). In a subsequent study in female mice, in which post-mortem examinations were limited to the uterus and the lungs, a statistically significant increase in the incidence of pulmonary tumors was again observed at 500 mg/kg/day.
The increased occurrence of mammary adenocarcinomas was associated with elevations in serum prolactin which occurred in female mice administered oral timolol at 500 mg/kg/day, but not at doses of 5 or 50 mg/kg/day. An increased incidence of mammary adenocarcinomas in rodents has been associated with administration of several other therapeutic agents that elevate serum prolactin, but no correlation between serum prolactin levels and mammary tumors has been established in humans. Furthermore, in adult human female subjects who received oral dosages of up to 60 mg of timolol maleate (the maximum recommended human oral dosage), there were no clinically meaningful changes in serum prolactin.
Brimonidine tartrate was not mutagenic or clastogenic in a series of in vitro and in vivo studies including the Ames bacterial reversion test, chromosomal aberration assay in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells, and three in vivo studies in CD-1 mice: a host-mediated assay, cytogenetic study, and dominant lethal assay.
Timolol maleate was devoid of mutagenic potential when tested in vivo (mouse) in the micronucleus test and cytogenetic assay (doses up to 800 mg/kg) and in vitro in a neoplastic cell transformation assay (up to 100 mcg/mL). In Ames tests the highest concentrations of timolol employed, 5,000 or 10,000 mcg/plate, were associated with statistically significant elevations of revertants observed with tester strain TA100 (in seven replicate assays), but not in the remaining three strains. In the assays with tester strain TA100, no consistent dose response relationship was observed, and the ratio of test to control revertants did not reach 2. A ratio of 2 is usually considered the criterion for a positive Ames test.
Reproduction and fertility studies in rats with timolol maleate and in rats with brimonidine tartrate demonstrated no adverse effect on male or female fertility at doses up to approximately 100 times the systemic exposure following the maximum recommended human ophthalmic dose of COMBIGAN™.