Idebenone Could Be Used to Treat Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration
Idebenone might be a useful treatment for dry AMD, Scott Cousins, MD, said at Angiogenesis, Exudation, and Degeneration 2014.1 The drug would be used to treat loss of mitochondrial ubiquinone efficacy, a contributing factor of dry AMD.
Idebenone, an organic compound of the quinone family, is an analog for ubiquinone. In some dry AMD patients, quinone-based toxicants interfere with ubiquinone’s reaction along mitochondrial cell membranes, promoting the creation of oxidants. Oxidants have been implicated as a cause of dry AMD, Dr. Cousins reported, so using idebenone in lieu of ubiquinone might compensate for the loss of mitochondrial ubiquinone efficacy. Such compensation could halt or slow the creation of oxidants, which could in turn help prevent the progression of dry AMD.
“Our hypothesis is that those toxicants interfere with ubiquinone, causing superoxide production,” Dr. Cousins explained. “If you supplement ubiquinone with idebenone, you might prevent that process.”
Initial tests on patients with dry AMD show no indication of toxicity or intolerance, Dr. Cousins said, and a formal prospective study to assess the effects of idebenone therapy in patients with dry AMD is warranted.
1. Cousins S. Preclinical and initial clinic results of idebenone, a ubiquinone analog for dry AMD. Paper presented at: Angiogenesis, Exudation, and Degeneration 2014; February 8, 2014; Miami, FL.