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What Are Prostaglandin Analogues?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Prostaglandin analogues, also called prostaglandin analogs, are a type of medication prescribed to lower intraocular pressure, or pressure within the eye. A doctor may prescribe them to patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension. They work by reducing the accumulation of aqueous humor, or eyeball fluid, in order to lower the pressure. Three examples of these drugs include travoprost, latanoprost, and bimatoprost. Prostaglandin analogues may help prevent loss of vision and damage to the optic nerve.

This type of drug is available in the form of eye drops to be applied topically to the eye. Patients may be prescribed more than one type of eye drop. Those who use more than one ophthalmic medication should wait at least five minutes between applications. The exact prescribing information will vary, depending on the drug prescribed and the needs of the patient. Typically, a patient will need to apply one drop of a prostaglandin analog once daily to the affected eye.

Patients may be instructed to remove their contact lenses, if applicable, before using the drops. After washing his hands, a patient should tilt his head back slightly and gently pull the lower eyelid down to form a “pocket.” The medication should be carefully dropped into the pocket. Patients should then close their eyes for a few minutes and avoid touching them.

Some side effects may occur while using prostaglandin analogues, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. Patients may experience irritation of the eyes, eye pain, or headaches. The eyes may feel uncomfortable, with the sensation of a foreign body in them, and they may also become itchy, red, or dry. Some patients may notice eyelid crusting, or a thickening of the eyelashes, or a darkening of the eyelids. Gradually, some patients may notice the iris turn brown, which may be permanent.

More serious side effects require immediate medical care. Patients should inform their doctor if they develop pink eye or an unusual sensitivity to light. The eyelid may also become swollen and red. Rarely, some patients have reported upper respiratory infections.

Before using prostaglandin analogues to treat high intraocular pressure, patients should disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss possible risks with their doctors. Prostaglandin analogues may not be used by those with eye injuries, eye inflammation, or infections of the eye, as well as those with kidney or liver disease.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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