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All about: Alphagan

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Generic Name: Brimonidine (brih-MOE-nih-DEEN)
Brand Name: Alphagan

Alphagan is used for:

Lowering eye pressure in patients with wide-angle glaucoma or high blood pressure of the eye.

Alphagan is an alpha-3 adrenergic agonist. It works by lowering the fluid pressure inside the eyeball and increases fluid drainage from the eyeball.

Do NOT use Alphagan if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Alphagan
  • you are currently taking furazolidone or an monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, phenelzine)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Alphagan :

Some medical conditions may interact with Alphagan . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have severe heart disease (including not enough blood flow) or kidney or liver problems
  • if you have a history of depression
  • if you have Raynaud phenomenon
  • if you have low blood pressure, inflammation of the blood vessels, or not enough blood flow to the brain

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Alphagan . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Bromocriptine, catechol-O-methyltranferase (COMT) inhibitors, cocaine, methyldopa, and oxytocic drugs (eg, ergotamine), because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Alphagan
  • Furazolidone and MAO inhibitors (eg, selegiline) because side effects, including high fever, high blood pressure, and headache, may be increased by Alphagan
  • Guanethidine because its effectiveness may be decreased by Alphagan
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), because they could increase or decrease Alphagan 's effectiveness

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Alphagan may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Alphagan :

Use Alphagan as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Do not stop using Alphagan or change the dose unless advised to do so by your health care provider.
  • Remove soft contact lenses before you use Alphagan ; lenses may be placed back in the eyes 15 minutes after use of Alphagan .
  • To use Alphagan in the eye, first, wash your hands. Tilt your head back. Using your index finger, pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to form a pouch. Drop the medicine into the pouch and gently close your eyes. Immediately use your finger to apply pressure to the inside corner of the eye for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not blink. Remove excess medicine around your eye with a clean, dry tissue, being careful not to touch your eye. Wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.
  • To prevent germs from contaminating your medicine, do not touch the applicator tip to any surface, including the eye. Keep the container tightly closed.
  • Instill 1 drop into the affected eye(s) 3 times daily about 8 hours apart or as directed by your health care provider.
  • More than 1 eye medicine may be used to lower eye pressure. Use the products at least 5 minutes apart.
  • If your medicine comes with a special cap, follow the directions on how to use this properly.
  • Do not use more medicine than prescribed unless advised to do so by your health care provider.
  • Contact your health care provider at once if you feel you have used too much of Alphagan .
  • If you miss a dose of Alphagan , use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Alphagan .

Important safety information:

  • Alphagan may cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Alphagan with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use Alphagan . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Alphagan should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Alphagan while you are pregnant. It is not known if Alphagan is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Alphagan , check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Alphagan :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Abnormal vision; cough; dizziness; drowsiness; dry eyes; dry mouth; eye irritation; flu; foreign body sensation; headache; inflamed eyelids; irritation near the eyelashes; loss of color in the eye; muscular pain; rash; redness of eyelid; runny nose; sensitivity to light; sinus infection; sore throat; staining and erosion of the cornea; stomach upset; swelling of the conjunctiva; tearing; tiredness; upper respiratory tract symptoms; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); anxiety; changes in heart rate; difficulty breathing; eyelid crusting; fainting; nasal dryness; palpitations; pounding in the chest.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Alphagan :

Store Alphagan at room temperature, between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 20 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Alphagan out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Alphagan , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Alphagan is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Alphagan . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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