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What Is Trifluridine?

K.C. Bruning
Updated May 17, 2024
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Trifluridine is an eye medication that is used to fight viral infections. It is most commonly prescribed to treat epithelial keratitis, which is caused by the herpes virus. Trifluridine may also be used to treat ulcers on the eye. The drug comes in eye drop form. It is marketed under the brand names Viroptic®.

The drug is an anti-herpesvirus medication of the antiviral class. It is also known as trifluorothymidine, which is commonly shortened to TFT. Trifluridine works by blocking the production of the virus in cells that are already infected, thus allowing healing to begin. This typically includes the shrinkage of a mass growing on the eye.

Trifluridine is often prescribed to be administered several times throughout the day. In order to ensure that an overdose does not accidentally trickle into the eye, most bottles of the drug are not distributed completely full. A typical prescription will require that the drops be inserted every couple of hours. The number of doses per day usually drops after a week as the patient begins to heal. While treatment can take several days, use of the drug must be stopped after a few weeks, as it can eventually become toxic to the eyes.

There are no particular drugs or conditions which are commonly believed to make taking trifluridine too risky. The effect of drug interactions or previous patient illnesses depends on the health of the individual and the severity of the condition being treated. For this reason, it is still important to disclose all current medications being taken and a full medical history to the prescribing doctor.

The mild side effects of trifluridine should be discussed with a doctor, but are not urgent. They include stinging, burning, or any other pain that develops as a result of using the drug. Itching, blurred vision, redness, and pressure in the eye are other possible symptoms. Many mild side effects will go away on their own — often only a few minutes after the drops are inserted — while others may be preventable via doctor-advised methods.

There are other more serious side effects of trifluridine which should receive immediate medical attention. The most common of these include tunnel vision and severe swelling or pain in the eye area. Emergency medical treatment should be sought if there is an allergic reaction, which can cause breathing problems, swelling in the areas from the neck up, and hives.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
K.C. Bruning
By K.C. Bruning , Former Writer
Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and platforms, including WiseGeek. With a degree in English, she crafts compelling blog posts, web copy, resumes, and articles that resonate with readers. Bruning also showcases her passion for writing and learning through her own review site and podcast, offering unique perspectives on various topics.

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K.C. Bruning

K.C. Bruning

Former Writer

Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and...
Learn more
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