Apraclonidine (Iopidine eye drops)
How does it work?
Iopidine eye drops contain the active ingredient apraclonidine which is a type of medicine known as alpha 2adrenoreceptor agonist.
Apraclonidine acts on receptors in the walls of blood vessels in the eyes. It causes the blood vessels to narrow which restricts the flow of blood through the vessels. This decrease the production of a watery fluid called aqueous humour that fills the back of the eye.
Apraclondine therefore works by reducing the inflow of aqueous humour into the eyeball, which decreases the pressure within the eye. It is used to treat conditions where there is raised pressure in the eye, such as glaucoma and before or after eye surgery.
What is it used for?
- Raised pressure in the eye (ocular hypertension), eg glaucoma.
- This medicine is not to be taken by mouth.
- 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.
- Iopidine eye drops are sterile until opened. The metered dose bottles contain a preservative that helps keep the eye drops sterile. Any remaining medicine in the bottle should be carefully disposed of four weeks after the first opening, as after this time it is likely to be contaminated. You may find it helpful to write the date of first opening on the packet. Dispose of carefully, preferably by returning to your pharmacy. .
- Iopidine eye drops contain the preservative benzalkonium chloride, which can be absorbed by soft contact lenses and cause eye irritation. If you wear soft contact lenses, you should remove them before putting in these eye drops. You should wait at least 15 minutes after using the drops before putting your contact lenses back in.
- This medicine may cause temporary blurred vision after you have applied it into the eye(s). If affected, do not drive or operate machinery until this has worn off. You should also take into account that this medicine can sometimes cause other visual disturbances, eg double vision, and dizziness or fatigue, all of which may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.
- People with diabetes should carefully monitor their blood sugar while using this medicine. This medicine may mask the symptoms of low blood sugar, such as increased heart rate, palpitations, sweating, tremor and nausea.
- While using this medicine you should have regular eye examinations.
Use with caution in
- Severe kidney failure.
- People who have recently had a heart attack.
- Problems with blood circulation to the brain or heart.
- People with high blood pressure.
- Heart failure.
- History of angina.
- Increased nerve activity resulting in slowing of the heart rate and a fall in blood pressure leading to fainting (vasovagal attack).
- Narrowing of the blood vessels in the hands, causing numb and painful fingers (Raynaud's disease).
- Severely decreased blood supply to the heart (severe coronary insufficiency).
Not to be used in
- Known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient.
- People with severe or uncontrolled cardiovascular disease.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to 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. It should be used with caution during pregnancy, and only if the expected benefit to the mother is greater than any possible risk to the unborn baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
- It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk. It should be used with caution by breastfeeding mothers. Seek 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, it 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)
- Red eye(s) (hyperaemia).
- Itching of the eyes.
- Dry mouth.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
- Dry nose.
- Unpleasant taste.
- Eye pain, irritation or discomfort.
- Blurred vision.
- Increased tear flow.
- Swelling of eyelids.
- Inflammation of the cornea (keratitis).
- Sensation of something in the eye(s).
- Loss of strength.
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)
- Inflammation of the throat (pharyngitis).
- Disturbed sleep.
- Problems with co-ordination.
- Chest pain.
- Swelling of the legs and ankles due to excess fluid retention (peripheral oedema).
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
- Swelling of the face.
- Difficulty breathing.
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?
The apraclonidine in these eye drops could be absorbed into the bloodstream in low amounts after application to the eye and it could therefore interact with other medicines that you are taking by mouth, injection, skin patch or suppository. You should 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 starting any new medicines while using this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
The manufacturer states that these eye drops should be used with caution by people taking any of the following medicines:
- monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOIs), eg the antidepressants phenelzine, tranylcypromine or isocarboxacid
- tricyclic antidepressants, eg amitriptyline, imipramine
- related antidepressants, eg mianserin.
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.
Other medicines containing the same active ingredient
There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain apraclonidine.