Brinzolamide eye drops are used to control increased pressure within your eye (glaucoma).
Remember to use the drops regularly - try not to miss any doses.
If you normally wear soft contact lenses, please make sure your doctor knows about this.
About brinzolamide eye drops
|Type of medicine||A carbonic anhydrase inhibitor|
|Used for||Raised eye pressure, such as in glaucoma|
Also: Azarga® (this contains brinzolamide in combination with timolol); Simbrinza® (this contains brinzolamide in combination with brimonidine)
|Available as||Eye drops|
An increase in pressure within your eye can lead to damage to the optic nerve at the back of your eye. When this occurs it is called glaucoma. Glaucoma can lead to a loss of vision if it is not treated. If you have an increased pressure within your eye but without any damage to the optic nerve, this is called ocular hypertension. People with ocular hypertension have an increased risk of later developing glaucoma. Treatment with eye drops such as brinzolamide helps to reduce eye pressure in people with ocular hypertension, and to prevent further eye damage in people with glaucoma.
Brinzolamide works by blocking the action of an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase. Blocking this enzyme reduces the amount of fluid that you make in the front part of your eye (called aqueous humour), and this helps to lower the pressure within your eye.
Sometimes, more than one type of eye drop is needed to keep the pressure in the eye low. If this is the case for you, you may be asked to use two different eye drops, or you may be given drops which combine more than one type. Brinzolamide is available as a combination eye drop with a beta-blocker called timolol (in a brand called Azarga®), and with an eye drop called brimonidine (in a brand called Simbrinza®).
Before using brinzolamide eye drops
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using the drops it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work or with the way your liver works.
- If you wear soft contact lenses.
- If you have a condition where your blood acidity is too high, called hyperchloraemic acidosis.
- If you are taking any medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have ever had a bad reaction to any other eye drops, or to a type of medicine known as a 'sulfonamide'.
How to use brinzolamide eye drops
- Wash your hands well before you use the drops.
- Remove the cap.
- Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye out to form a pocket.
- Hold the bottle upside down near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
- Apply enough pressure to the base of the bottle to release one drop into your eye. Only use a second drop if the first drop missed going into your eye.
- Close your eye for a minute or two, and press gently on the side of your nose where the corner of your eye meets your nose. This helps to stop the drop from draining away and keeps it in your eye.
- Repeat the process in your other eye if you have been told to use the drops in both eyes.
- Replace the cap.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Before you start using the eye drops, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack. It will give you more information about the eye drops and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from using them.
- Use one drop into the eye (or eyes) affected. The drops are usually used two or three times each day, but your doctor will tell you how many times a day is right for you - your dose will also be printed on the label of the pack. Remember to use the drops at regular intervals and try not to miss any doses.
- If you forget to use the drops, put them in as soon as you remember, but do not 'double up' to make up for any missed doses.
- Take care not to touch the tip of the dropper with your eye, fingers, or any other surface. This is to prevent the drops from becoming contaminated.
- If you are using any other eye drops, leave 5-10 minutes between applying each one. This is to prevent more liquid going into your eye than it can handle. Otherwise the drops will overflow from your eye and not have the intended effect.
- When first put in, eye drops can make your eyes water and may sometimes cause blurred vision. If this happens, it should quickly clear. Make sure you can see clearly again before you drive or use tools or machines.
- Do not wear soft contact lenses unless your doctor has advised you otherwise. This is because there is a preservative in bottles of eye drops which can affect soft contact lenses.
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor and eye clinic so that your progress can be checked.
- If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, remember to tell the person carrying out the treatment about any medicines you are taking or using.
Can brinzolamide eye drops cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, eye drops can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones associated with brinzolamide. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your drops. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common brinzolamide side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Blurred vision, itching or irritation when the drops are first put in||This should quickly ease. If it continues, or if your eye becomes red, painful or inflamed, speak with your doctor as soon as possible|
|Altered taste||Make sure you press gently on the side of your nose (where the corner of your eye meets your nose) for a minute or so after you have used the drops|
Bottles of eye drops contain preservatives which some people can develop an allergic reaction to. If your eye becomes red or inflamed after using the drops, contact your doctor for advice.
How to store brinzolamide eye drops
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Eye drops in bottles only keep for four weeks once the bottle has been opened, so do not use the drops if the bottle has been open for longer than this. This will help to prevent the risk of eye infections.
Important information about all medicines
If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you suspect that someone has swallowed this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Azopt® Eye Drops Suspension; Alcon Laboratories (U.K) Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2014.
- British National Formulary; 68th Edition (Sep 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr John Cox