Latanoprost eye drops (Xalatan, Monoprost)

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Latanoprost drops reduce raised pressure in your eye.

Remember to use the drops every day.

The drops can alter the colour of your eyes over time, and cause your eyelashes to grow darker and thicker. Your doctor will discuss this with you.

Type of medicineProstaglandin analogue
Used forTo reduce raised pressure within your eye
Also calledXalatan®; Monoprost®
Xalacom® (a combination of latanoprost with timolol)
Available asEye drops and single-dose units

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 latanoprost eye drops helps to reduce eye pressure in people with ocular hypertension, and to prevent further eye damage in people with open-angle glaucoma.

Latanoprost eye drops work by increasing the drainage of fluid from the inside of your eye. This helps to lower the pressure within your eye. Latanoprost eye drops are available as bottles of eye drops which contain a preservative, and also as single-dose units which do not contain a preservative.

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. Latanoprost is available as a combination eye drop with another medicine which reduces eye pressure, called timolol (a beta-blocker), in a brand called Xalacom®.

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 latanoprost it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have had surgery on your eye to replace or remove the lens (such as cataract removal).
  • If you have a breathing problem such as asthma or COPD.
  • If you have had problems in the past with viral infections in your eye.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines or eye drops. 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.
  1. Wash your hands well before you use the drops.
  2. Open the bottle, or if you are using a single-use dose unit, remove the tip of the unit.
  3. Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye downwards to form a pocket.
  4. Hold the bottle or single-use dose unit upside down near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
  5. Apply enough pressure to release one drop into your eye. Do not use more than one drop - using several drops does not improve your glaucoma but will increase the risk of side-effects.
  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. If you are using single-dose units, there is sufficient liquid in one unit to put a drop into both eyes.
  8. Put the cap back on the bottle, or if you are using the single-use dose unit, throw it away.
  • 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 could experience from using them.
  • Use one drop in the eye (or eyes) affected once a day. Your doctor may recommend you use the drops in the evening.
  • Remember to use the drops every day. If you do forget, do not double up on the next day 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.
  • If any of the eye drop solution runs on to your face, wipe it away as soon as you can with a clean tissue or hanky.
  • 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.
  • Keep your regular appointments with your doctor and eye clinic so that your progress can be checked.
  • 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.The single-dose units do not contain a preservative.

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 latanoprost. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with the drops. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Very common latanoprost side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 people)
What can I do if I experience this?
Irritation or redness in your eye, longer or thicker eyelashes, darker skin on your eyelidsMany people using the drops notice these changes - discuss them with your doctor if you are concerned. If your eyes become become so irritated that you don't want to use the drops, or if they water excessively, please let your doctor know about this straightaway. Your treatment will need to be reveiwed
Changes in the colour of the iris of your eyes (this can be permanent)Discuss this with your doctor if you are concerned about it
Common latanoprost side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)What can I do if I experience this?
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Sensitivity to lightWearing sunglasses may help

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the eye drops, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Please check the information on the label for the correct storage requirements. Some brands of eye drops can be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light. Other brands need to be stored in a refrigerator before being opened.
  • Eye drops in bottles can be used for four weeks once the bottle has been opened. Even if there is still some solution remaining after this time, throw the bottle away and use a new one. 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 other medicines.

This preparation is for use in 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 any 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

  • 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:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Document ID:
3774 (v24)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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