Xalatan eye drops (Latanoprost)
How does it work?
Xalatan eye drops contain the active ingredient latanoprost, which is a type of medicine called a prostaglandin analogue. (NB. Latanoprost eye drops are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.) Latanoprost is used to lower raised pressure within the eyeball.
The pressure within the eyeball is naturally maintained by a continuous flow of liquid called aqueous humour through the eyeball. Aqueous humour is produced by a part of the eye called the ciliary body. It drains out of the eyeball through channels called the trabecular meshwork. If the outflow of aqueous humour is blocked, the aqueous humour builds up inside the eye, increasing the pressure within the eyeball. This pressure needs to be reduced, as otherwise it can damage the optic nerve and impair vision as a result.
Latanoprost reduces the pressure in the eye by mimicking the action of a naturally-occuring prostaglandin. Prostaglandins are a group of natural body chemicals found in many places in the body. In the eye, they increase the drainage of the aqueous humour out of the eyeball. Latanoprost is a synthetic prostaglandin that acts on the same receptors in the eye as the natural prostaglandins. It therefore causes an increase in the drainage of aqueous humour out of the eyeball. This decreases the pressure within the eye. Latanoprost is used to lower raised pressure in the eye, for example in glaucoma.
What is it used for?
- Open angle glaucoma.
- Raised pressure in the eye (ocular hypertension).
How do I use it?
- Wash your hands before using the eye drops.
- If you wear contact lenses, you should remove them before putting in these eye drops. This is because Xalatan eye drops contain the preservative benzalkonium chloride, which can be absorbed by contact lenses and cause eye irritation. You should wait at least 15 minutes after using the drops before putting your contact lenses back in.
- One drop should be put into the affected eye(s) once a day. The medicine is most effective if the drops are applied in the evening. Click here for instructions on how to put in the eye drops.
- Immediately after administering the eye drops, close the eye and press on the tear duct (at the corner of the eye closest to your nose) for about one minute. This is to minimise the amount of medicine that may be absorbed into the bloodstream, which will increase the local effect in the eye and minimise any adverse effects elsewhere in the body.
- When using these eye drops you should take care to not touch the dropper tip to any surface, or to your eye, in order to avoid contaminating the eye drops.
- If you miss a dose just apply your next dose as usual. Don't use the drops twice in one day to make up for a missed dose.
- You should not exceed the recommended dose, as using the drops more frequently than once a day can actually make them less effective.
- Previously, Xalatan eye drops had to be stored in a refrigerator before opening. This is no longer the case. The eye drops may now be kept outside of the fridge both before and after opening, but do not store them above 25°C. Keep the container in the outer carton in order to protect from light.
- Xalatan eye drops are sterile until opened. The bottles contain a preservative that helps keep the eye drops sterile once they are in use. However, any medicine remaining in the bottle after the bottle has been open for four weeks or more is likely to be contaminated with germs and should no longer be used. Dispose of carefully, preferably by returning to your pharmacy. You may find it helpful to write the date of first opening on the packet.
- These drops are for use in the eyes only and must not be taken by mouth.
- These eye drops may cause your vision to blur temporarily after you have put them in your eye. Do not drive or operate machinery until this has worn off.
- This medicine can cause your eye colour to gradually change, by increasing the amount of brown pigment in your iris. This is not associated with any symptoms and is not harmful. It predominately happens in people with green-brown, yellow-brown or blue/grey-brown eyes. If the drops are only used in one eye, this may cause your eyes to permanently become different colours. The drops may also cause changes in the eyelashes of the treated eye(s) (increased number, length, thickness or pigmentation of eyelashes, or misdirected eyelashes). Ask your doctor, eye specialist or pharmacist for more information.
- While using this medicine you should have regular eye examinations.
- These eye drops are licensed for use in children, however there is only limited experience in children under one year of age and none in premature babies. The long-term safety of using the drops in children has not yet been established by the manufacturer. If you are concerned about using these drops in your child you should discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.
Use with caution in
- Closed angle glaucoma.
- Glaucoma caused by accumulation of pigment particles in the drainage channels of the eye (pigmentary glaucoma).
- Glaucoma caused by inflammation inside the eye (inflammatory glaucoma).
- Glaucoma caused by the growth of new blood vessels over the iris (neovascular glaucoma).
- Inflammatory conditions of the eye such as conjunctivitis.
- People with an artificial lens in the eye (pseudophakia).
- People with no lens in the eye (aphakia).
- People with a history of herpetic keratitis, which is inflammation of the front of the eye (cornea) caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (these eye drops should be avoided in people with active herpes simplex keratitis).
- People having surgery for cataracts.
- People with risk factors for swelling of the back of the eye (cystoid macular oedema), such as a closed or blocked retinal vein or diabetes affecting the eyes (diabetic retinopathy).
- People with a history or risk of inflammation of the middle layer of the eyeball (uveitis) or the iris (iritis).
- People with dry eyes.
Not to be used in
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- The safety of this medicine during pregnancy has not been established, therefore it should not be used by pregnant women. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
- This medicine can pass into breast milk after being applied into the eye. The manufacturer states that it should not be used by women who are breastfeeding and that mothers who need to use this medicine should bottlefeed rather than breastfeed. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
Very common (affect more than 1 in 10 people)
- Change in colour of the iris (the coloured part of the eye - see warning section above).
- Red eye(s) due to increased blood supply (hyperaemia).
- Eye irritation (eg burning, grittiness, itching, stinging or sensation of something in the eye).
- Darkening, thickening, lengthening and increased number of eyelashes (mostly in Japanese people).
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
- Inflammation of the eyelid(s) (blepharitis).
- Eye pain.
- Temporary pinpoint damage to the membrane covering the front of the eyeball (transient punctate epithelial erosions).
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)
- Swelling of the eyelid(s) due to fluid retention (oedema).
- Dry eye(s).
- Inflammation of the front of the eye (keratitis).
- Inflammation of the membrane covering the eyeball (conjunctivitis).
- Blurred vision.
- Skin rash.
Rare (affect between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 people)
- Inflammation of the iris (iritis).
- Inflammation of the front parts of the eye (uveitis).
- Swelling of the area at the back of the eye responsible for seeing fine detail (macular oedema).
- Swelling or erosions of the cornea.
- Misdirected eyelashes, sometimes resulting in eye irritation.
- Darkening of the eyelid(s).
- Shortness of breath (dyspnoea).
- Worsening of asthma.
Very rare (affect less than 1 in 10,000 people)
- Chest pain.
- Aggravation of angina in people who already suffer from this.
- Inflammation of the front of the eye (cornea) caused by infection with the herpes virus (herpetic keratitis).
- Cyst on the iris.
- Awareness of your heartbeat (palpitations).
- Pain in the muscles or joints.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
You should always tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines while using this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
If you are using more than one type of eye drop you should administer them at least five minutes apart, to prevent the second drop washing away the first. Use eye gels or ointments last.
These eye drops should not be used in combination with other prostaglandin or prostaglandin analogue eye drops, because the combination may actually increase the pressure in the eye.
Other medicines containing the same active ingredient
Latanoprost eye drops are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.
Xalacom eye drops contain latanoprost in combination with the beta-blocker medicine timolol.