Meds and you

27 September 2013

Pilocarpine

Pilocarpine is a miotic drug. Miotic drugs are drugs that reduce the size of the pupil and indirectly reduce pressure inside the eye.

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Pilocarpine is the active ingredient of Isopto Carpine ophthalmic solution (Nappi code: 734284-004, 734179-006, 734195-001), Minims Pilocarpine ophthalmic solution (Nappi code: 743453-018), Pilogel gel (Nappi code: 755389).

General information
Pilocarpine is a miotic drug. Miotic drugs are drugs that reduce the size of the pupil and indirectly reduce pressure inside the eye.

In South Africa pilocarpine is registered for the treatment of open- and closed- angle glaucoma ( a condition where fluid drainage from the eye is impaired, resulting in fluid build-up and increased pressure inside the eye), for constriction of the pupil when needed, and to counter the effect of mydriatic drugs – drugs which dilate the pupil.

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 visual disturbances, driving and any hazardous tasks should be avoided until you know how this medication affects you.

Pilocarpine should not be used in the eye if you have soft contact lenses in your eyes.

How does pilocarpine work?
Pilocarpine reduces the size of the pupil. When the pupil constricts the iris is pulled away from the cornea and the angle between the iris and cornea is increased. This improves outflow of fluid from the eye, thereby reducing intra-ocular pressure.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: pilocarpine is available as eye drops and ophthalmic gel.
What does it do? Pilocarpine reduces pressure within the eye.
Overdose risk: low
Dependence risk: low
Is pilocarpine available as a generic? yes
Is pilocarpine available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 1 hour
Duration of effect: up to 12 hours
Stopping this medicine: do not stop taking this drug without consulting your doctor.
Prolonged use: regular eye examinations are advised

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have asthma
  • you have heart disease
  • you have uncontrolled asthma
  • you have reduced liver function

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. 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: use under supervision of a specialist only.
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

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
headache
X

X

brow-ache
X

X

blurred vision
X

X

dizziness

X
X

chills

X
X

watery eyes

X
X

runny nose

X
X

sweating

X
X

flushing

X
X

weakness

X

X
skin reactions

X

X

Interactions

Drug interactions

succinylcholine possible cardiovascular collapse and death
epinephrine additive lowering of intra-ocular pressure
timolol additive lowering of intra-ocular pressure
neostygmine, physostigmine increased risk of systemic side effects

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have asthma or impaired liver function.

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

Recommended dosage
Depends on product and dosage form.

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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