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Prostaglandin Analogs for Glaucoma

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
bimatoprost Lumigan
latanoprost Xalatan
tafluprost Zioptan
travoprost Travatan

These medicines are given in eyedrop form.

Prostaglandin analogs have turquoise bottle caps. If you need to use more than one type of eyedrop, you may need to take each medicine in a certain order. You can use the color of the bottle cap to help you keep track of each type of eyedrop.

If you are using more than one type of eyedrop, wait 5 minutes between the different eyedrop medicines.

How It Works

Prostaglandin analogs reduce pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure, or IOP) by increasing the removal of fluid (aqueous humor) from the eye.

Why It Is Used

Prostaglandin analogs are used to reduce intraocular pressure in people who have glaucoma or high intraocular pressure (ocular hypertension). They can be used alone or in combination with other glaucoma medicines.

How Well It Works

Prostaglandin analogs are effective in lowering the pressure inside the eye, which lowers the risk of damage to the optic nerve. These medicines typically lower IOP by 25% to 30%.1

Prostaglandin analogs are the most frequently used medicines for glaucoma treatment.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.
  • Blurred vision or tearing.
  • An allergic reaction in or around your eyes (redness, itching, swelling).

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Burning, itching, or stinging in the eye.
  • Feeling like something is in the eye.
  • Eyelashes growing longer.
  • Upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds and flu.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

The colored part of your eye (iris) may change color if you take prostaglandin analogs. It's most likely to occur if you have hazel eyes. These medicines may also cause the eyelid to darken and eyelashes to grow longer. These changes could last forever. They would affect only the eye that's being treated.

Latanoprost may cause your eyes to become more sensitive to light. You may want to avoid bright light or wear sunglasses.

Prostaglandin analogs should be used with caution by people who have infections or inflammation in the eye, who have had cataract surgery or other problems with the lens of the eye, or who are at risk for swelling in the macula at the back of the eye.

People who wear contact lenses need to take their contacts out before putting these eyedrops into their eyes. The contacts can be reinserted 15 minutes after using the eyedrops.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Abramowicz M (2010). Drugs for some common eye disorders. Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 9(99): 1–8.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised May 14, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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