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Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Preparations

By: PetPlace Staff

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  • Corneal edema is a condition in which excessive fluid accumulates within the cornea, which is the clear outer surface of the front of the eye. This fluid accumulation causes the cornea to swell and appear cloudy. The fluid builds up within the layers of the cornea, not within the eye itself.
  • There are a number of causes of corneal edema. Causes include glaucoma, chronic inflammation within the front chamber of the eye, trauma to the cornea, an inherited condition of the cornea called endothelial dystrophy (seen more often in Boston terriers and Chihuahuas), and as a result of a degeneration of the inner layer of the cornea due to aging.
  • 5% sodium chloride (NaCl) is an ophthalmic saline preparation that is applied topically to treat corneal edema. The preparation is not related to medications used to treat glaucoma. It is an osmotic agent, which means the drug acts somewhat like a sponge, drawing some of the excess fluid out of the cornea by absorbing it once the medication is applied to the cornea.
  • 5% sodium chloride is available as an over-the-counter drug but should not be administered unless under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Muro 128® 5% Solution and 5% ointment (Bausch & Lomb), NACL® 5% sterile ophthalmic ointment and solution (Medical Ophthalmics), Ak-NaCL® 5% ophthalmic solution and ointment (Akorn), and various generic formulations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of 5% Sodium Chloride

  • 5% sodium chloride is used to treat corneal edema, which may occur as a secondary condition to injury or diseases of the corneal endothelium.
  • It is also used in the treatment of inherited endothelial dystrophy.
  • 5% sodium chloride is also used in the treatment of corneal endothelial degeneration that arises primarily in adult to aged dogs.
  • Although 5% sodium chloride is not usually indicated in the treatment of corneal edema secondary to glaucoma or anterior segment inflammation, it may be helpful in preventing corneal ulceration in animals with chronic corneal edema from any cause. 5% sodium chloride is particularly useful in the treatment and prevention of chronic corneal erosions that tend to arise in dogs with endothelial degeneration.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, 5% sodium chloride can potentially cause side effects in some animals.
  • Medication should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • The drug may cause a brief burning sensation upon application, but this side effect is usually short-lived and often diminishes with repeated applications. Redness of the eye may also occur.
  • 5% sodium chloride may interact with other medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with 5% sodium chloride.
  • It should not be applied with other medications and is most effective when administered alone.

    How 5% Sodium Chloride Is Supplied

  • 5% sodium chloride is available as an ointment in 3.5 gm tubes, or as a solution in 15 ml and 30 ml bottles. The solutions may be stored at room temperature. If the solutions become discolored or cloudy, they should be discarded.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Typical application rates are 2 to 6 times daily. Retention time of the ointment is greater than the solution, so the ointment may be used less often.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. In some instances, once 5% sodium chloride is started, animals must be maintained on the drug indefinitely, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Eye medications must be giving consistently and on a reliable time schedule. Even if your pet feels better, this medication should not be stopped unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so.

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