Meds and you

27 September 2013

Brimonidine

Brimonidine is an anti-glaucoma medication. Anti-glaucoma agents are drugs that indirectly reduce pressure inside the eyeball.

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Brimonidine is the active ingredient of Alphagan Purite Solution (Nappi code: 709410-001).

General information
Brimonidine is an anti-glaucoma medication. Anti-glaucoma agents are drugs that indirectly reduce pressure inside the eyeball (called intraocular pressure), which can damage the optic nerve and cause a deterioration in vision if left untreated.

In South Africa brimonidine is registered for the treatment of glaucoma, a condition associated with increased intraocular pressure.

This medication does not cure the underlying condition, but simply keeps the symptoms under control. For this medication to be effective it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect.

Treatment should not be stopped abruptly, especially if you have been taking this drug for a prolonged period of time. The decision to stop using this medication should only be made by your doctor.

It should be noted that because this drug may cause dizziness, blurred vision and/or sedation. Driving and any hazardous tasks should be avoided until you know how this medication affects you.

How does brimonidine work?
The pressure within the eyeball is determined by the amount of liquid, called aqueous humour, in the eyeball. This fluid constantly flows in and out of the eyeball. However, if the outflow of this aqueous humour is blocked, pressure builds up. Brimonidine works by reducing the inflow of aqueous humour into the eyeball, which decreases the pressure within the eye.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: brimonidine is available as ophthalmic solution
What does it do? Brimonidine indirectly reduce pressure inside the eyeball (this is called intraocular pressure), which can damage vision if left untreated.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is brimonidine available as a generic? no
Is brimonidine available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 1 hour
Duration of action: 8-12 hours
Stopping this medicine: do not stop using this medication abruptly as it may cause a recurrence of the original symptoms being treated. It is advised that you decrease your dose gradually as directed by your doctor.
Prolonged use: no problems are expected with prolonged use of brimonidine. Regular medical examinations are however advised to keep an eye on your glaucoma.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

Pregnancy:
avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding:
avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria:
avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children:
this medication is not intended for use in children.
The elderly:
caution is advised in the elderly as side effects are more likely to occur.
Driving and hazardous work:
caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol:
Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
burning sensation of eye
X

X

stinging of eye
X

X

eye irritation
X

X

drowsiness
X

X

dry mouth
X

X

tearing

X
X

redness of eye

X
X

headache

X
X

inflammation of the eyelid

X
X

taste disturbance

X
X

depressed mood

X

X
weakness

X

X
palpitations

X

X
fainting

X

X

Interactions

Tricyclic antidepressants, e.g. amitriptyline, imipramineMay reduce the pressure-lowering effect of Brimonidine

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults: 1 drop in the affected eye(s) every 12 hours.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
 

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