Meds and you

27 September 2013


Levobunolol is a beta-receptor blocker. Beta-receptor blockers are drugs that act on beta-receptors in the heart.


Levobunolol is the active ingredient of Betagan ophthalmic solution (Nappi code: 781134-005).

General information
Levobunolol is a beta-receptor blocker. Beta-receptor blockers are drugs that act on beta-receptors in the heart, thereby reducing its force and speed of contraction, and on blood vessels, preventing vasodilatation. In the form of eye drops, beta-receptor blockers are used to reduce fluid pressure within the eye.

In South Africa levobunolol is registered for the control of intra-ocular pressure in chronic open-angle-glaucoma and in ocular hypertension.

For this medication to be effective, it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect.

It should be noted that because this drug may cause dizziness, light-headedness and/or visual disturbances, driving and any hazardous tasks should be avoided until you know how this medication affects you.

Levobunolol ophthalmic drops should not be used if you have soft contact lenses in your eyes.

How does levobunolol work?
Levobunolol as an eye drop causes blood vessels in the eye to narrow. By narrowing these blood vessels, less fluid passes through the blood vessel into the eyeball, thereby reducing pressure within the eye. It furthermore reduces the production of aqueous humour within the eyeball.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: levobunolol is available as eye drops.
What does it do? Levobunolol reduces pressure inside the eyes.
Overdose risk:v medium
Dependence risk: low
Is levobunolol available as a generic? no
Is levobunolol available on prescription only? yes

User information

Stopping this medicine: do not stop taking this drug without consulting your doctor.
Prolonged use: regular ophthalmic examination is advised with long-term use. A decreased effect of this medication may furthermore be noted with prolonged use.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have or had heart disease
  • you have asthma
  • you have chronic bronchitis
  • you have diabetes
  • you have a slow heart rate (<50 beats per minute)

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. 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: avoid as safety in children has not been established.
The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as side effects are more likely to occur.
Alcohol: no special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Although this is an eye drop, systemic effects cannot be excluded and these may include low blood pressure, a slow heart rate, heart rhythm disturbances, congestive heart failure, chest pain, palpitations, difficulty breathing, coughing, muscle weakness, cold hand and feet, headache and even heart attack.


Drug interactions

reserpine lowering of blood pressure, slow heart rate and dizziness may occur
digoxin increased side effects of digoxin
verapamil increased side effects of verapamil
oral beta-receptor blockers increased risk of side effects with both drugs

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have or had heart disease, you have asthma, chronic bronchitis, diabetes or if you have a slow heart rate (<50 beats per minute).

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 twice daily

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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