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Understanding Glaucoma Medications (cont.)

Prostaglandin Analogs

Selective prostanoid FP-receptor (sensitive to prostaglandin F) agonists became generally available as eye drops for the treatment of glaucoma in 1996. These include latanoprost (Xalatan), bimatoprost (Lumigan), travoprost (Travatan), unoprostone (Rescula), and tafluprost (Zioptan). The prostanoid group of eye drops is the most commonly used first-line medication for the treatment of glaucoma. Latanoprost is currently available in a generic form.

How prostaglandins/prostanoids work: These drugs, administered as eye drops, have an effect on the aqueous drainage system within the eye to increase aqueous outflow which, in turn, lowers intraocular pressure (IOP).

Who should not use these medications:

  • Persons allergic to prostaglandin eye drops
  • Persons with inflammation (swelling) of the eye

Use: These drugs are given as eye drops to the affected eye(s).

Drug or food interactions: Eye drops containing the preservative thimerosal form a crystal if administered at the same time. Wait at least 5 minutes between applications. If administered with pilocarpine eye drops, wait at least 10 minutes -- preferably, 1 hour -- between applying the two drugs.

Side effects: These eye drops should not be used while wearing contact lenses. An increase in brown pigment in the iris and gradual changes in eye color may occur. Eyelash growth and pigmentation may increase. Skin on the eyelids and around the eyes may darken. Variable loss of orbital fat has been reported. Excessive tearing, eye pain, or lid crusting may occur. Burning, stinging, foreign-body sensation (something in the eye), blurred vision, and itching have also been observed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/23/2014

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