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Eye Drop Preservative Benzalkonium Chloride Potently Induces Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Preferentially Affects LHON Mutant Cells

The authors of a study on the most commonly used eye drop preservative, Benzalkonium Chloride [BAK], conclude: "Prescribing BAK-containing eye drops should be avoided in patients with mitochondrial deficiency, including LHON patients, LHON carriers, and possibly primary open-angle glaucoma patients." Because: " Benzalkonium chloride inhibits mitochondria of human corneal epithelial cells and cells bearing LHON mutations at pharmacologically relevant concentrations, and we suggest this is the basis of BAK's ocular toxicity. "

A more recent study also implicates other quaternary ammonium salt [QUATS] antiseptics, specifically cetylpyridinium chloride [CPC]. The authors say: "Mitochondrial inhibition in vitro occurred at a CPC concentration that may be relevant to human exposures. The antiestrogenic activity of CPC, BAK, rotenone, and triclosan may be related to their mitochondrial inhibitory activity. Our findings support the need for additional research on the mitochondrial inhibitory and antiestrogenic effects of QUATS, including CPC and BAK."

Benzalkonium chloride, cetylpyridinium chloride and triclosan are commonly used as antiseptics and preservatives in many skin creams, ointments and personal care products.

It is highly recommended that those with a family history of optic nerve or retinal disease enquire themselves and with their health professional about possible eye toxicity before being exposed to any drug or substance.

References:

The Eye Drop Preservative Benzalkonium Chloride Potently Induces Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Preferentially Affects LHON Mutant Cells. Sandipan Datta; Christophe Baudouin; Francoise Brignole-Baudouin; Alexandre Denoyer; Gino A. Cortopassi. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2017, Vol.58, 2406-2412. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-20903

In Vitro Evaluation of Mitochondrial Function and Estrogen Signaling in Cell Lines Exposed to the Antiseptic Cetylpyridinium Chloride Sandipan Datta,1 Guochun He,2 Alexey Tomilov,1 Sunil Sahdeo,1 Michael S. Denison,2 and Gino Cortopassi1. Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP1404

Listing for Benzalkonium Chloride in Household Products Database from US Department of Health and Human Services.

Listing for cetylpyridinium chloride in Household Products Database from US Department of Health and Human Services.

Listing for triclosan in Household Products Database from US Department of Health and Human Services.


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P. O. Box 777, Cornwall NY 12518, USA.
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