Apraclonidine eye drops (Iopidine)

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Apraclonidine eye drops are used in addition to your usual glaucoma drops to control increased pressure within your eye.

Remember to use the drops regularly, three times a day.

If you normally wear soft contact lenses, please make sure your doctor knows about this.

Type of medicineAn alpha2-adrenoceptor agonist eye drop
Used forTreatment of glaucoma; and to control eye pressure during laser surgery
Also calledIopidine®
Available asEye drops (0.5%) and single-dose units (1%)

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. Treatment with apraclonidine eye drops, in addition to your usual drops for glaucoma, can help to reduce eye pressure. The 0.5% drops are prescribed for people who need additional help to control pressure in the eye in order to delay the need for laser treatment or surgery. The drops are usually prescribed for a short period of time, as the benefit from them tends to be lost after about a month, although this differs from person to person.

Apraclonidine is also used as a treatment during laser surgery. A higher-strength (1%) solution is used for this. It will be applied for you by the clinical staff who are treating you.

Apraclonidine eye drops are thought to work by reducing the amount of fluid (called aqueous humour) that you make in the front part of your eye. This helps to lower the pressure within your eye.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using the eye drops, it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you wear soft contact lenses.
  • If you have a heart condition or blood vessel disorder.
  • If you have a depressive illness.
  • If you have any of the following conditions: high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, Raynaud's syndrome.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or any problems with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  1. Wash your hands well before you use the drops.
  2. Remove the cap.
  3. Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye downwards to form a pocket.
  4. Hold the bottle upside down near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
  5. Gently press on the base of the bottle to release one drop into your eye.
  6. 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.
  7. Repeat the process in your other eye if you have been told to use the drops in both eyes.
  8. Replace the cap.
  • 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 three times each day. The benefit of treatment with the drops usually lasts for up to a month.
  • Remember to use the drops at regular intervals and try not to miss any doses. If you do forget, use them as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case just use the drops when they are next due). Do not 'double up' to make up for a missed dose.
  • 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.
  • As you will also be using other eye drops for glaucoma, you should leave 5-10 minutes between putting in each type of drop. 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 bottles of eye drops contain preservatives which can affect some soft contact lenses.
  • Please keep your regular appointments with your doctor and eye clinic so that your progress can be monitored.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with apraclonidine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with the eye 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.

Apraclonidine eye drop side-effects (some of these can be very common affecting more than 1 in 10 people)What can I do if I experience this?
Dry eye, eye redness, irritationIf this continues or becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor
Feeling tired or dizzyDo not drive or use tools or machines while affected
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor
Unusual taste, dry mouth, runny or blocked noseIf any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

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.

  • 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.

If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your prescribed medicines.

This preparation is for use in the eyes only. If someone swallows some of it, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

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, Iopidine® 5 mg/ml Eye Drops; Alcon Laboratories (U.K) Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2013.
  • British National Formulary; 70th Edition (Sep 2015) 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.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
29157 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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