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SECO 2023: Drugs of the future

Article

Milton M. Hom, OD, FAAO, FACAAI (Sc), shares key takeaways from his SECO 2023 presentation, "Drugs of the future."

Milton M. Hom, OD, FAAO, FACAAI (Sc), caught up with Optometry Times®' assistant managing editor Emily Kaiser to share highlights from discussion titled, "Drugs of the future," which he presented during SECO 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Kaiser:

Hi everyone. I'm Emily Kaiser with Optometry Times and I'm sitting down with Dr. Milton Hom to discuss his presentation called, "Drugs of the future," at SECO 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Welcome, Dr. Hom, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.

Hom:

Thank you for inviting me

Kaiser:
Of course. Can you give us a brief overview of your presentation?

Hom:

Well, it's "Drugs to the future," and essentially what I'm going to be talking about is just really four drug classifications: presbyopia, myopia, pain, and finally Demodex. And the reason why I chose these drug classes, well, number one, I've worked with all of these drug classes, either in research or in consultation. But really what it is, is that the way I see it is that right now presbyopia, last year and this year, is a really, really hot topic.

Myopia has been a hot topic for the last couple of years. Demodex, the first drug will be released probably this year, maybe next year. So that's going to be the next hot topic. And then following after that will be pain, and the reason why I say "pain" is because there's a lot of drugs in the pipeline that is directed towards corneal pain, corneal neuralgia, so on and so forth.

So basically, when I look at these different drugs, like with presbyopia, most of these drugs are miotic drugs. In other words, they're smaller pupil drugs. And most of the drugs that are in the pipeline are also miotic drugs, but there's a couple of new drugs—well, one new drug that's actually focused on lens softening that not too many people know much about, and I'm going to be talking about that drug.

For myopia, it's basically an atrophying based drug. A lot of that is done with, shall we say, mom and pop pharmacies—or pharmacies that compounded, but now there are some pharmacies—or shall we say drug companies—that actually have formulations and branded formulations that they're studying for myopia under clinical study conditions. So we'll be able to get some really good data from that.

And Demodex is also another area—this is kind of a newer type of area—that is an area that is more related to blepharitis. And I'll be talking about Demodex, and blepharitis, and a lot of the drugs that are coming out. A lot of the drugs that are coming out are really reversion from other sources, like one of them has come out of a veterinarian drug, another one has come out of insecticides, another has come out of shampoo.

So that is where I'm going to be talking about some of the future there. And finally, with pain, we're gonna be talking about corneal neuralgia pain, and also central pain versus peripheral pain, and how to make a differential diagnosis between the two. And also how you go ahead and you treat it and what are the drugs that are in the future that are going to treat it?

You know, the way I look at it for clinicians is that it's always good to look at drugs of the future. The reason why is I was reading a biography of Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs always quotes Wayne Gretzky—the great Wayne Gretzky hockey player. And he always says, "Why do you skate to where the puck is, when you can skate to where the puck is going?" And I think that's what we should look at, in terms of drugs in the future.

Kaiser:

Yeah, absolutely. And how should clinicians respond to this information?

Hom:

Well, you know, it better prepares you. I mean, a lot of times a lot of these conditions that will come up in discussion with the patients, they're always wondering about, "I have this certain condition, and what are the treatments that are available?" And if you know what the drugs are available in the future, then you'd be able to share with that with your patients and tell them, "Well, yeah, there is a drug under development for your particular condition, and perhaps maybe it'll be more effective and we can go ahead and use that for you."

Kaiser:

And what do you hope optometrists take away from your talk?

Hom:

Well, what I hope they take away from the talk is that they'll have better knowledge of what the future drugs will be. And not only that, but when they actually do come out, they'll be able to ask questions about, you know, when the manufacturers go ahead and they promote it, they'll go ahead of the market, all the drugs and everything like that, because they have prior knowledge of it, they'll be able to ask much better questions of what you see the data and what to expect.

Kaiser:

Absolutely. All right. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat today and I can't wait to hear more.

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