2013 Volume 38 Issue 4 Pages 531-537
We performed repeated toxicity studies of benzalkonium chloride (BAK)-containing vehicles of ophthalmic solutions in monkeys and rabbits to assess the local toxicity of BAK after repeated applications on the ocular surface. Local toxicity of BAK was evaluated by toxicity studies in which a 0.01% BAK-containing vehicle was applied twice/day for 52 weeks, 4 times/day for 39 weeks, or 6 times/day for 13 weeks, or in which a 0.005% BAK-containing vehicle was applied 6 times/day for 52 weeks or twice/day for 4 weeks in monkeys. Local toxicity of BAK was also evaluated where a 0.01% BAK-containing vehicle was applied 6 times/day for 6 weeks, or a 0.005% BAK-containing vehicle was applied twice/day for 39 weeks or 8 times/day for 4 weeks in rabbits. These doses were chosen because BAK is generally used at concentrations up to 0.01% in ophthalmic solutions. The BAK-containing vehicle did not cause ophthalmological changes suggestive of irritation, allergy, or corneal damage. We also did not observe any histopathological changes in the eyeball, eyelid, lacrimal gland, and nasal cavity, with repeated applications of BAK for up to 52 weeks, up to 8 times/day, or at concentrations up to 0.01%, in monkeys and rabbits. Our results suggest that BAK in concentrations up to 0.01% in ophthalmic solution is non-toxic to the eyeball, its accessory organs, and the nasal cavity after long repeated applications.