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What is Xalatan (Latanoprost)?
Xalatan (latanoprost) is a prescription medication administered for the treatment of high eye pressure, or high intraocular pressure, in patients that have ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. It may be used alone or alongside treatment with Timoptic (timolol) for improved results.
How is Xalatan Used?
Xalatan comes as an ophthalmic solution (eye drops) and should be administered once per day by placing one drop of Xalatan in the afflicted eye(s) in the evening for maximum relief of high eye pressure. This medication may be used in the morning, but the resulting decrease in intraocular pressure may be less than that of patients who use the medication in the evening.
Patients should use Xalatan exactly as instructed by their prescribing physician regarding the dose and frequency determined for treatment. Not following your doctor’s directions regarding how to use Xalatan may result in the medication not working as efficiently to treat the conditions for which it has been prescribed. Using too much Xalatan will actually make the medication less effective.
To apply Xalatan to the affected eye(s), the patient should slightly tilt their head back and gently pull their lower eyelid down to allow space for the Xalatan drops to be placed without losing much of the medication due to it rolling elsewhere on the face. Without allowing the eye dropper to touch the eye itself, the patient should then squeeze out the instructed number of drops (in most cases, only one) into the affected eye. Once the medication has been dropped into the eye, they should close both of their eyes for two to three minutes without squinting, blinking, or rubbing the eye that contains the medication. It is also recommended to place a finger on the tear duct to prevent the medication from coming into contact with it so it may be absorbed properly by the eye.
Patients using Xalatan should not use any other eye drops along with this medication until at least five minutes have passed since applying Xalatan to the eyes. Patients using Xalatan should also not use any additional eye drops or eye medications unless specifically instructed to do so by their doctor.
Xalatan should not be used while a patient is wearing soft contact lenses due to the risk of staining that may occur when the ophthalmic solution comes into contact with the lenses. Please wait at least 15 minutes after applying Xalatan before inserting any contact lenses.
Any unopened containers of Xalatan should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature in the range of 36°F (2°C) to 46°F (8°C). This medication should never be placed in a freezer or frozen.
Once opened, Xalatan should be stored at room temperature, not exceeding a maximum temperature of 77°F (25°C), and away from any heat, moisture, or light. Patients should ensure that the medication bottle remains tightly sealed at all times.
Xalatan should be disposed of once six weeks have passed since the medication bottle was first opened.
Keep this medication out of the reach of children at all times.
When disposing of Xalatan, do not flush this medication, pour it down the drain, or simply toss it in with the household trash. Contact your local waste disposal company or pharmacy for further information on how to safely dispose of the medication.
Xalatan is prescribed for the treatment of high intraocular pressure, or high eye pressure, attributed to open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.
It may be used alone for treatment or used alongside other medications to assist in lowering a patient’s eye pressure.
How Does Xalatan Work?
Xalatan is a type of medication known as a prostaglandin analog. These types of medications function by being similar to the naturally occurring chemicals within the human body known as prostaglandins. These chemicals help to reduce a patient’s eye pressure by improving the flow of the various intraocular fluids within the eyes by causing changes to the extracellular matrix of the eye (which provides support and structure) as well as relaxing the ciliary muscle that impacts eye fluid regulation and long-distance vision capabilities.
Xalatan is available as an ophthalmic solution that contains 50 mcg/mL of latanoprost in a bottle of 2.5 mL of solution.
If a patient has used too much Xalatan and an overdose has occurred, resulting in symptoms such as difficulty breathing or losing consciousness, call 911 immediately. If overexposure to this medication has occurred, but the patient is not experiencing serious side effects, they should contact their doctor or local Poison Control Center as soon as possible.
In a volunteer study, high intravenous dosages of Xalatan resulted in nausea, sweating, flushing (hot flashes), fatigue, dizziness, and abdominal pain.
Xalatan should not be administered or swallowed orally for any reason and may be harmful if consumed in this manner.
Individuals using Xalatan for the treatment of high intraocular pressure may experience some side effects attributed to this ophthalmic medication.
The most common side effects of taking Xalatan are as follows:
- blurry vision
- burning sensation in the eyes
- darkening of your natural eye color
- darkening of the eyelids’ skin
- feeling as if something is in your eye
- itchy eyes
- light sensitivity
- puffiness of the eyelids
- redness of the eyes
- stinging sensation in the eyes
- thickening of the eyelashes
- watery eyes
Some of the following side effects may also occur when using Xalatan and should be discussed with your doctor. If you experience the following side effects, stop using Xalatan immediately and contact your prescribing physician:
- crusting of the eye
- draining from the eye
- eyelids that are itchy, swollen, or red
- increased light sensitivity
- severe irritation, stinging or burning after using the drops
- severe discomfort
- swelling of the eye
- vision changes
In the event that a patient experiences symptoms of an allergic reaction, they should stop using Xalatan and seek emergency medical treatment immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the throat, tongue, face, or lips
Please contact your doctor for further information if you experience any of the following additional side effects as these have been reported with the use of Xalatan in some patients:
- cystoid macular edema
- iritis (inflammation of interior structures within the eye)
- macular edema
- uveitis (inflammation of the middle layers of the eye)
If left untreated, the development of macular edema can permanently impact a patient’s eye(s) and lead to irreversible vision loss and damage. Patients that develop uveitis will need to seek prompt medical attention to treat this type of inflammation and prevent permanent damage as well. Iritis, which is ocular inflammation that impacts the cornea and the iris, also requires medical treatment to alleviate this inflammation as it can result in blindness or significant vision loss.
If you notice significant changes to your vision or the appearance of your eyes after using Xalatan, please contact your doctor immediately to rule out any serious conditions.
Warnings & Precautions
Patients taking Xalatan should receive regular eye exams and laboratory tests to monitor their condition and assess for any side effects after using Xalatan. The frequency of such tests and monitoring shall be determined by the prescribing physician based on their professional opinion regarding the patient’s overall health and potential risks of adverse events taking place when using this medication.
Xalatan should not be used in any patients under the age of 18 years old.
Eye-Related Medical History
Before a patient is prescribed Xalatan, they should be very thorough in sharing their eye-relayed medical history with their prescribing physician. Conditions such as uveitis, iritis, aphakia, lens extraction, herpes infection, and macular edema should all be discussed prior to beginning this medication. Any previous eye surgeries or other related eye conditions should be reported to the patient’s prescribing physician before using Xalatan.
Temporary Vision Changes
After applying Xalatan to the eye, many patients experience distorted or blurry vision as the medication begins to work. Patients using Xalatan should not operate machinery, drive, or engage in any other activities that require clear and unaltered vision until such significant changes have passed, allowing them to safely be able to do such tasks. This risk is why most prescribing physicians suggest that patients using Xalatan apply the drops in the evening before bed to avoid such risks and have improved reduction of intraocular eye pressure as well as to ensure patient safety due to vision changes.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Xalatan should only be used during pregnancy if very clearly needed. Patients that are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss the risks and benefits of using this medication with their doctor to ensure there is not more suitable alternative.
It is not known whether Xalatan is capable of being passed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding and need to take Xalatan, please discuss any possible risks with your physician before beginning this medication.
Additional Medical Conditions
If you have or have had any of the following medical conditions, please discuss your medical history with your doctor before beginning this medication:
- eye infection
- eye surgery
- herpes infection (ocular)
- injury to one of your eyes’ lenses
- retinal detachment
Speak to your doctor about any medications or herbal supplements you are currently taking before beginning treatment with Xalatan. Discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or a trusted pharmacist.
The following medications are known to interact with Xalatan:
- eye drops containing thimerosal
- additional prostaglandins or prostaglandin analogs
If patients are using any types of eye drops that may contain thimerosal, they should wait at least five minutes before or after using Xalatan and avoid mixing the two ophthalmic medications at the same time. This ingredient may be found in certain eye drops as well as in certain contact lens solutions, so patients are strongly advised to check all labels to determine if this ingredient is present if they are using such products around the same time as applying Xalatan to their eye(s).
Taking additional prostaglandin or prostaglandin analogs has been shown to reduce the efficacy of such medications when it comes to lowering the patient’s intraocular pressure and may even lead to an elevation of pressure levels. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are already taking one of these medications before beginning Xalatan.
For patients who are unable to take Xalatan or experiencing significant adverse side effects, alternative medications may be used to treat some of the associated conditions for which this medication is commonly prescribed:
- Alphagan P (brimonidine)
- Combigan (brimonidine, timolol)
- Cosopt (dorzolamide, timolol)
- Lumigan (bimatoprost)
- Timoptic (timolol)
- Travatan/Travatan Z (travoprost)
- Trusopt (dorzolamide)