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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Adrenergic Agonists for Glaucoma
These medicines are given in eyedrop form. The bottle has a purple cap. 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
Most adrenergic agonists reduce the
pressure in the eyes by reducing how much fluid (aqueous humor) the
eyes produce. They also increase the amount of fluid that drains out of the
Adrenergic agonists help lower eye pressure in people who have glaucoma. They are also used to prevent
high pressure in an eye after laser treatment for glaucoma.
These medicines may be used along
with other medicines to treat
These medicines work well to reduce the pressure
in the eyes.1 Reducing the pressure in the eyes reduces the chances of damage to
the optic nerve, preventing further vision loss.
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:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Adrenergic agonists may widen
(dilate) the pupil. This may trigger
closed-angle glaucoma in people who have narrow
People who take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) medicine for
depression cannot use brimonidine. People who take tricyclic antidepressants and people who have
severe heart, liver, or kidney disease may not be able to use adrenergic agonist medicine.
If you wear contact lenses, you may
need to take your contacts out before you put this medicine in your eye. You can reinsert the contacts 15 minutes after using the eyedrops.
Your doctor may suggest Combigan for you. This medicine has an adrenergic agonist (brimonidine) and another type of glaucoma medicine (timolol) mixed into one bottle.
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.
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.
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.
Gross RL (2009). Current medical management of glaucoma. In M Yanoff, JS Duker, eds., Ophthalmology, 3rd ed., pp. 1220–1226. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.
May 14, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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