Information on Tablets A-Z
Generic name: Brimonidine tartrate
Why is this drug prescribed: Alphagan lowers high pressure in the eye, a problem typically caused by the condition known as open-angle glaucoma. Alphagan works in two ways: it reduces production of the liquid that fills the eyeball, and it promotes drainage of this liquid.
Most important fact about this drug: Alphagan may have a slight effect on blood pressure. If you have severe heart disease, make sure the doctor is aware of it. Caution is warranted.
How should you take this medication: Alphagan is administered with an eyedropper. If you are using other eyedrops or ointments, allow at least 5 minutes between doses of each product. The benzalkonium chloride used as a preservative in Alphagan can be absorbed by soft contact lenses; wait 15 minutes after using the drug before you insert the lenses. A formulation called Alphagan P is free of this preservative. --If you miss a dose... Take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature.
What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using Alphagan. More common side effects of Alphagan may include: Abnormal vision, allergic reaction, blurred vision, burning and stinging, dizziness, drowsiness, dry eyes, dry mouth, eye pain or irritation, fatigue, feeling of foreign body in the eye, headache, inflamed or swollen eyelids, itchy eyes, loss of tissue or staining of the cornea, muscle pain, red or swollen eyes, sensitivity to light, stomach problems, tearing, upper respiratory symptoms, watery eyes, weakness Less common side effects of Alphagan may include: Altered taste, anxiety, bleeding in the eye, contracted pupils, depression, discharge from the eye, dry nose, fainting, high blood pressure, inflamed iris, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, lid crusting, low blood pressure, skin reactions, slow or rapid heartbeat
Why should this drug not be prescribed: You'll need to avoid Alphagan if it gives you an allergic reaction, or if you're taking a medication classified as an MAO inhibitor, such as the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate.
Special warnings about this medication: Use Alphagan with caution if you have circulation problems, low blood pressure, or depression. Caution is also warranted if you have liver or kidney problems, since Alphagan's effects under these conditions have not been studied. Alphagan's effect may diminish over time. The doctor should check your eye pressure periodically. Alphagan makes some people drowsy. Do not engage in hazardous activities such as driving until you know how this drug affects you. Alphagan has not been studied in children under 2 years of age.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Alphagan is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Alphagan with the following: Barbiturates such as phenobarbital and Seconal Other sleep medications such as Ambien and Sonata Narcotic painkillers such as Darvon, Percodan, and Vicodin Alcohol Drugs classified as beta blockers, such as the high blood pressure medications Inderal, Sectral, and Tenormin Other high blood pressure drugs Heart drugs such as Isordil, Lanoxin, and Nitro-Dur Tricyclic antidepressant drugs such as Sinequan, Surmontil, and Vivactil
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Although there is no evidence that Alphagan can cause harm, the effects of the drug during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is not known whether Alphagan appears in breast milk. If you are nursing, its use is not recommended.
Recommended dosage: The usual dose is 1 drop in the affected eye(s) 3 times daily, approximately 8 hours apart.
Overdosage: No information is available on Alphagan overdose. However, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.