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Trifluridine (Viroptic®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Trifluridine, also known as trifluorothymidine, is an antiviral ophthalmic drug. This eye medication is an analog to a specific amino acid known as pyrimidine, which is related to a natural precursor of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
  • This drug will interrupt the reproductive cycle of specific viruses by substituting parts of their DNA, resulting in the virus being unable to replicate.
  • Trifluridine is poorly absorbed by the cornea and works on viruses affecting the surface of the eye.
  • Trifluridine is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulation: Viroptic® (B-W)
  • Veterinary formulation: None

    Uses of Trifluridine

  • The primary use of trifluridine is in the treatment of eye disease caused by feline herpes virus.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, trifluridine can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Trifluridine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Since trifluridine has only been found to be effective in the treatment of eye disease associated with feline herpes, this drug should not be used in dogs or to treat any other eye disease.
  • The drug should be avoided in cats with a breakdown of the cornea such as a corneal scratch or ulcer.

    How Trifluridine is Supplied

  • Trifluridine is available in a 1% ophthalmic solution in 7.5 ml bottles.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Trifluridine is applied every 2 hours during the waking hours for the first 2 days of treatment. After that, the medication is applied to the eyes 4 to 6 times daily. Treatment is continued for at least a week after signs of disease have resolved.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.

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